March 29, 2008
School Nurse Confiscates The Crutches Of An Injured 13 Year Old Student - Hillsborough County Schools Strike Out Again!
Tampa, Fla. (The Weekly Vice) -- The Hillsborough County Schools in Tampa Florida have made news AGAIN directly following three Teacher/Student sex scandals - all within weeks of each other.
Now the Hillsborough County School District has expanded it's lunacy - by confiscating the crutches away from a 13 year old girl who had been prescribed crutches and braces following a painful knee injury. Jeez. What are these jackass school admins. down in Tampa doing?
Here we go again!
Amber, a 13 year old student at Walker Middle School, in Odessa Florida injured her knee while kicking a ball back in February, 2008. As the day progressed, the injury became worse.
Amber's mother Patricia Elalem began talking to Denise Mckee, the school nurse, about making arrangements to have the injury treated at Tampa General Hospital.
Following the visit, Amber was diagnosed with a strained ligament, where she was fitted with an immobilizer brace and a set of crutches. She returned to school a few days later, when apparently all hell broke loose for little Amber.
On Feb. 6, when Amber returned to school, McKee the nurse phoned Ambers mother, asking for a doctor's note for the crutches. Elalem said she didn't know the note was required but phoned the hospital to have a doctor fax a note to the school. Apparently the school fax machine never received the fax, so the school nurse took matters a step further.
According to Amber's mother, the school nurse called Amber in and confiscated the crutches, requiring Amber to walk on the damaged knee throughout the school day.
"She didn't give her access to the elevator, so Amber was forced to walk up and down the stairs until about 1:30 p.m., when she couldn't take the pain anymore," said the Elalem's attorney.
When Patricia got her daughter home, and removed the braces, Amber's knee cap had been pushed to the side of her leg. Amber tried physical therapy, however it was becoming more apparent that surgery would be required. Amber received orthopedic surgery to repair the damage on March 13th.
"I was floored," Elalem said. "You don't take medically prescribed treatment away from a child."
The Elalems believe the lack of crutch support severely aggravated the injury and now have decided to take the Hillsborough County School district to court. Since it's not yet known whether there will be any permanent disability from the injury, the Elalems have not determined a dollar amount in the suit they intend to file.
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
While there are two sides to every story [and this is the family's side], I'm afraid the school's goose is cooked if the girl was forced to walk even one time up a flight of stairs without crutches. Putting aside the fact that the school HAD to be aware of the surgery - Amber was absent for several days after surgery after all - it would absolutely be insane to expect the student to go even 10 minutes without assistance.
Sometimes, stories like this are embellished a little, but it's really going to come down to one thing. Did the nurse send the kid out of her office with or without crutches. All the additional he said/she said really doesn't matter.
If the allegations are true - this nurse should be fired and never given a job again where she makes decisions about student safety on her own. I'm not even sure a woman with such a lack of common sense should even HAVE a certificate - and we wonder if it isn't HER that should be sued.
We can't say we've ever seen an instance before where heads in a school district needed to roll more desperately than they do in Hillsborough County.
The Weekly Vice