Archive for Friday, May 6, 2011

Southwest Junior High seventh-grader injured in fall at Clinton Lake

May 6, 2011, 12:27 p.m. Updated May 6, 2011, 3:58 p.m.


A Southwest Junior High School student was unconscious for a short time Friday morning after falling near the Clinton Lake dam, school and fire officials said.

The student was alert and conscious once firefighters rescued her, but she was taken to a Kansas City-area hospital via helicopter ambulance as a precaution, said Division Chief Joe Hoelscher of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical.

Julie Boyle, a Lawrence public schools spokeswoman, said the seventh-grade female student fell while on a walking field trip in southwestern Lawrence. School and Douglas County Sheriff’s officials said the girl tumbled down in a hilly area that faces south near the intersection of a bike path and East 900 Road.

Boyle said the students were taken by bus to the Youth Sports Complex southwest of Wakarusa Drive and the South Lawrence Trafficway. The students then walked along the bike path west toward the dam to search for rocks and fossils. She said that before the girl fell, several students and teachers were walking down that portion of the hill.

Douglas County Undersheriff Steve Hornberger said the girl apparently tumbled an undetermined distance in the area near the spillway after she lost her footing.

The girl was flown via a LifeStar helicopter ambulance to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., for treatment of her injuries, and her parents accompanied her, Boyle said. She was released from the hospital Friday night.

“I was told she was alert and conscious at the scene,” Hornberger said.

Hoelscher said a fire crew performed a “low-angle rescue” during which they tied a rope to a tree and pulled themselves down to the student to get her into the ambulance.

He said the girl fell from a “steep slope” in the area that had been carved out for the spillway near the dam. Hoelscher said the hill has points that drop off from five feet to 15 feet, but crews were not sure how far the girl fell.

“District administrators are at Southwest Junior High and (the fields) assisting school staff in supporting students,” Boyle said Friday afternoon. “Of course, our thoughts and concerns are with the injured student and her family. Southwest Junior High plans to continue its regular school day.”

The school district also sent out an automated call about the incident to Southwest parents Friday.


aha 7 years, 1 month ago

just recieved an automated call from SWJH about a 7th grader falling in this area while on a feild trip.

wmathews 7 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the information. We'll have an update with more details soon.

Whitney Mathews Assistant Community Editor for Online

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

I was so upset about the dangers my son reported to me after his field trip to Clinton Lake last year as a seventh grader at CJHS....I contacted his school's administration and lodged a complaint along with offering several suggestions to make the experience safer. I also revoked the blanket field trip permission slip we were asked to sign at the beginning of the school year. Now I approve field trips only after satisfied as to safety precautions being in place. There were problems with students being allowed to roam unsupervised...trails not properly marked for the event...improper information was sent home about the type of attire son came home battered and bruised from falls he suffered on trails he was not equipped to be walking on...that and the fact he was approached by a stranger with a large dog, with no teacher in sight...God only knows what could have happened. He spent the majority of his day at the park being lost and unsupervised.

ksarmychick 7 years, 1 month ago

Most 7th graders of 12 or 13...old enough to be left home alone by themselves without adult supervision. When I was 7 I was allowed to go play in the creek by myself with friends.
As a parent I would assume that if my child was going on a field trip to the dam, that I would send my child with sneakers and that would be the only proper attire needed.
I would suspect that the stranger with the large dog was probably at the dog park next to the dam. And that your child was with at least one or more other 13 year old at the time.
Seems to me like you need to place your teenager in a plastic bubble to protect them from nature.

50YearResident 7 years, 1 month ago

Living in the country on land that is similar to the Clinton Lake I would think the proper attire would be boots, long pants, long sleved shirt or jacket, a hat and lots of bug deterrant. Sneakers only and regular school atire will lead to posion ivy, snakes bites, ticks, sunburn and arm and led scratches from thorny plants.

ksarmychick 7 years, 1 month ago

When I go walk the trails at the dog park I wear shorts and a tshirt and a pair of sneakers. There are many paths that have been formed/mowed, so their are no thorny plants. I don't burn in the sun and I'm not allergic to posion ivy.

I would have sent my kid to school in jeans today though since it was cold out earlier.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

We were told our son was going to be in a "large field"...however, his field trip was actually an orienteering assignment covering the numerous paths at the lake. His group left without him...he had no map...teachers did not go with the had recently rained and the trails were slippery...he did not have good trail shoes on. He even fell into the Lake at one point...he doesn't could have been a disaster...I guess we were lucky. Am I protective? Damn straight I am!

ksarmychick 7 years, 1 month ago

It doesn't take rocket science for a 13 year old to find there away back at clinton lake. If he doesn't swim and you are sooo over protective...teach him to swim. He is lacking a very very valuable life skill.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

You are missing the big picture...I pointed out several safety concerns last year about field trips to Clinton Lake...did they listen? I don't know...but I believe there are very few accidents in life...I believe most accidents can be prevented with careful, prudent planning. Like I learned in the Army...piss poor prior planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on my part.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

wow...what world do you live in? 54% of worlds population cant swim. Furthermore, knowing how to swim and being good at it are two different things. You do know that even adults have been known to drown...even ones that were good swimmers. You do know that some kids walk faster than others. I was clear that the school sent home erroneous information concerning the field trip. Look... I'm a former teacher...not a school basher by any stretch of the imagination. In my case, it was negligent for the teachers not to be with their students...period!

overthemoon 7 years, 1 month ago

kids need to learn how to walk around in the world. we have such overprotected kids that don't know how to walk on anything other than a sidewalk (for very short distances) and are wildly self absorbed and inattentive. parents need to teach their children to pay attention to their teachers and their surroundings...not scaring them with bogie man stories but insisting on responsible and sensible engagement in the world beyond facebook. knowing a number of teachers and their travails in having to babysit instead of teach, i'm guessing there's pretty good odds that this accident happened just after the teacher told the kids to watch their step and pay attention.

when i was in seventh grade, we were riding wild on horseback through the front range of the rockies. yes, we got hurt or had very long walks home if we were stupid with the horses. we lived through it and learned a huge amount about living on this planet.

Vinny1 7 years, 1 month ago

Nothing like being the overprotective parent that kids hate.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

Protective? Yes! Overprotective? Not even sure if that's possible these days...oh, and my son loves me very much.

akt2 7 years, 1 month ago

I think you need to get your son a cell phone and sign up as a parent volunteer for his next outing.

mlnj 7 years, 1 month ago

My son was on this trip. I'm curious about what he has to share from the experience.

osterhausg 7 years, 1 month ago

Home in a locked house playing video games is pretty safe. No field trip is without risk and if this trip were to be rescheduled I would send my son out again. That being said, I genuinely feel terrible that this happened and have great sympathy for the girl and her family.

50YearResident 7 years, 1 month ago

If the trail is dangerious enough that when you fall, a hellicopter transport to a KC Hospital is required, then more dress preperation is required. I side with SkyKing62.

somebodynew 7 years, 1 month ago

50year - around here you can't go by the helicopter thing. Stub your toe and they will call for one. I need more details than that to make a determination it was dangerous.

youngjayhawk 7 years, 1 month ago

I am surprised that schools continue to sponsor field trips. Think of the savings to the district by eliminating all field trips, especially with the current price of gas! Young people have plenty of opportunities (LPRD, scouts, etc) to explore parks and lakes in our community, why are they out during the school day doing these things? Field trips are not educationally necessary and present a liability risk to the teacher, school and district. Come on, folks, let's wise up!

Emily Campbell 7 years, 1 month ago

I agree with your statement somewhat. Why not eliminate field trips instead of closing schools. Besides Scouts, BBBS, other community events/groups why don't the parents take them out?

LadyJ 7 years, 1 month ago

Give skyking a break, she is just trying to be the best parent she can. I would rather see parents like her than the Phelps clan that put their kids on street corners with hate signs.

LoveThsLife 7 years, 1 month ago

Skyking and Multi those experiences sound pretty bad and definitely reflect poorly on the school. I would not want my kid to be separated from a group on a school outing regardless of age.

If a grown woman can be attacked and stabbed while riding a bike on one of the bike paths in Lawrence I would hate to think what could happen to a 13 year old (or younger) that was alone and not in a group.

Hope this young lady recovers quickly and that her injuries aren't too terrible.

teacherspet2 7 years, 1 month ago

You all seriously need to get your facts straight . The field trip that this student was on has been taking place for fifteen years. The seventh grade class goes out to the same spot to collect fossils that they will use in their science class to identify the types of fossils common to this area. It is called field experience and you can't get that experience by sitting in the classroom . On this field trip there was a paleontologist from KU, many parent volunteers, and many SW staff. The girl who was injured was surrounded by many students and adults. She was also being cautious and she still got hurt. It is called an accident, she didn't plan it and neither did any of her friends or the adults who care for her. Accidents happen and no one can stop that from happening. Even if we stopped taking field trips, accidents would still happen. We can't place ourselves in a bubble. We have to live, get hurt, pick ourselves up and keep going. Stop trying to assign blame for every bad thing that happens. Sometimes there is no one to blame and sometimes you just have to accept that bad things happen and not everything can be peaches and cream.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

no...I was very clear that I was addressing an incident from a different school and a different type of field trip. In this case it very well may have been an unavoidable my case the school was negligent...I thank goodness my son was not hurt beyond a few scrapes and a sore ankle...

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 1 month ago

In other news, a Wichita student on a field trip was attacked by a leopard at the Wichita Zoo today.... he had climbed over a railing.

Seriously, folks, accidents happen. People trip, slip, and fall. In school and in adulthood. And some people climb over the rails in really inappropriate places.

I hope the young lady recovers and extend my sympathies to her family and friends, but attacking the school and criticizing field trips is an over-reaction.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 1 month ago

I thought you were joking about the mauling...I believe in accidents...a first grader being mauled at a zoo is NOT an accident!

heath 7 years, 1 month ago

You're correct. The student crawled over the fence at the zoo. He was attacked by the animal because he chose to break the rules. By the way, did you ask school officials what happened on your son's trip or simply take his word for it? If the later, then you comments here have no credibility.

Sunny Parker 7 years, 1 month ago

'a few scrapes and a sore ankle' are raising a namby pampby wimp!

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