The mother of a five-year-old boy who was allegedly left outside in the cold during outdoor playtime at an Ontario public school last month is accusing staff of maltreatment.
“The issue as a whole is disturbing. “It’s difficult to grasp how this happens in schools,” Jennifer Hopkins, a Peterborough resident, told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday.
Hopkins claimed her kid was playing with his friends in a designated student area during outdoor playtime at R.F. Downey Public School in Peterborough on Jan. 24. Hopkins said her son noticed that the doors to re-enter the school were shut after playtime finished.
Hopkins claims her kid was able to open a neighboring gate and decided to walk home on his own. Around 1 p.m., a man who was accompanying the boy noticed the preschooler.
At the time of the occurrence, temperatures in Peterborough reached a high of – 8 degrees Celsius and a low of – 12 degrees Celsius.
Hopkins explained, “He was just crying and he was ice cold.”
According to the mother, she immediately contacted the school to see if they were aware that one of their pupils had gone missing. They weren’t, she said.
Hopkins stated that she subsequently contacted Peterborough police, who later found that no criminal charges were warranted.
Staff personnel accounted for all kids before returning to the classroom, according to the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, which controls operations at R.F. Downey.
“We are committed to ensuring the safety of our students.” The board said in a statement to CTV News Toronto that “this was a critical occurrence that school staff dealt to with urgency and care, both at the time and thereafter.”
Furthermore, they claim that at the time of the occurrence, the doors to the student area where the students were playing were open.
“While the doors to the school were open in this student area where the youngsters were playing,” the statement added, “we remain profoundly concerned that the student was able to exit school property.”
Hopkins, on the other hand, stated she doesn’t agree with that interpretation.
“To call it an accident when it’s just plain negligence.” “It just irritates me because I have different feelings,” Hopkins explained. “The teacher should have known better,” says the student. That morning, they had seen him. “When I dropped him off,” I said.
Hopkins said she worked with the school board to relocate her son and seven-year-old daughter as a result of the event.
The board said it is still investigating the event and has since put in place additional exit and access procedures during playtime.
Hopkins, on the other hand, said she had more questions for the board and wants the staff members involved to be held accountable. She also stated that she is consulting with attorneys and considers legal options.
“He’ll need some assistance and assurance that nothing like this will happen to him again,” she said.