Teachers would not allow student to wait in a car or nearby building
ST. PAUL, Minn. – 14-year old Kayona Hagen-Tietz was swimming in her school’s pool during health class last week when the fire alarm went off. The temperature outside was 5 degree below zero with a windchill of -25 degrees. “Is it just a drill? Do I have to go outside?” she asked. The teacher responded that she did, and with no time to retrieve her clothes from her locker, she was led outside in nothing but her swimsuit while she was still wet from swimming.
Due to “policy”, Kayona was not allowed to wait in a faculty member’s car, nor was she allowed to wait in a nearby elementary school. A teacher eventually gave her a jacket, while a friend gave her a sweatshirt to wrap around her feet. A few even huddled around her to keep her warm, but she was still left out in the cold for ten minutes.
When her mother came to pick her up, Kayona was taken to the doctor and treated for frostbite on her feet. Eva Tietz, Hagen-Tietz’s mother, was furious with the school’s mishandling of the situation.
“If I had a fire and brought my children out in that condition, you know, I’m sure I would be charged in some way or another if I didn’t instantly bring them into a neighbor’s house or someplace else,” Tietz said to WCCO. “The ultimate goal is to keep them safe and protect your children, and, in this instance, they did a really poor job.”
St. Paul Public School officials attempted to save face by stating that they continue to work with the St. Paul Fire Marshal to regularly review these procedures, including cold weather modifications, and they will make any changes based on their recommendations.