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Mom felt 'sheer terror' after child left behind

April 26, 2013

MARSHALL — In a span of 24 hours, Jackie Whylly’s emotions swung from terror, to relief, to anger. And now she wants answers....

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May-06-13 8:58 PM

Just to clarify, my issue is not Mr Swope's appointment. My issue is the sup and Board not requiring an administrative license for Parkside and Westside. That is a true reflection of failing to assure our children are protected and that our tax dollars are being used to reduce risk (i.e. lawsuits). Really this all goes back to reducing the assistant principal position a couple of years ago. Bad decision sup and Board!

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May-02-13 1:53 PM

Let's see. Insurance rates are higher along the coast, as well as in the midwest due to weather events. Have enough accidents or driving violations and your insurance rates go up. A school gets sued for a left behind child on a field trip and believing that insurance rates won't be affected is what defies logic. I shudder to think of the number of people who don't understand this. I couldn't care less about who agrees or disagrees; time will tell. It always does.

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May-01-13 8:50 PM

Marshall ISD is a punitive district. Hope Mr Willert has never made an error. Oh, I think he has. Mr Willert hired and recruited Mr Swope who does not have a current administrative license yet he is the elementary principal. Check MN Dept of Ed. By the way the elementary principal is responsible for the child of this story.

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May-01-13 5:15 PM

It's not a stretch to disagree with the statement that insurance rates will cancel future field trips. I disagreed with the statement because it is slippery slope logic that defies logic. What happened here was horrible. As a parent I shutter to think how I would have handled the situation. I don't agree field trips will be cancelled because of a mistake. Why is it easier for you to believe that someone is setting you up rather than taking ownership of what you post and accepting the fact that it may not be universally accepted fact? Who really cares about agrees and disagrees when you have conviction in what you have to say?

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May-01-13 4:38 PM

Ok, now I KNOW these comments are loaded by one or two people. 10 people already have disagreed with, "It shouldn't be too much longer before insurance companies decide that field trips are far too risky and adjust their premiums to reflect that." It's not possible for anyone with a clue to disagree with that comment. The parents' overreaction to this comment will certainly restrict the field trips taken in this district. What administrator wants to take the risk, and what teacher wants the responsibility?

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Apr-30-13 1:01 PM

It shouldn't be too much longer before insurance companies decide that field trips are far too risky and adjust their premiums to reflect that.

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Apr-29-13 6:47 PM

Of course prod sees this as a chance to file a lawsuit (obviously he has never made a mistake in his life). That's what our country is all about now. Any chance you get, take it, because it's a chance to get rich. Our course our tax dollars will be used to defend this case, and that will mean all of us should just give jackie and antoine a boatload of money, which I'm sure they will spend to reform our community and teach us how to care for their children...

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Apr-29-13 12:22 PM

So we have people that think abandoning a speech impaired four year old 65 miles from home is no big deal. It's OK for the school to have legal counsel, but not the parent. We have school staff that displays either

A. Inability


B. Irresponsibility

And that neither of those is grounds for immediate, radical investigation and resolve, and that any consequences are to be muted and minimal. [consequences are by nature used to bring about change]

Some of you think some funny things.

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Apr-29-13 12:23 AM

Dear Teacher, I don't send my children to Marshall Public School so I am a little clueless, and I don't know who you are. I am terribly sorry that you are going through this. Please know that there are people in this community who understand and support you. Maybe you were negligent. Maybe you weren't. I don't know, but I do know that when it comes to dealing with kids (and life in general), we ALL make frequent mistakes. Despite us, kids thrive. This child was NOT hurt, and isn't it ironic that nobody has stopped to consider the hurt this has caused you? The school should not have suspended you, but look at the bright side...who wants to work for a school that demands 100% perfection anyway? Nobody could live up to that. God has big plans for you and a few years from now you will laugh about this. Trust me on this one. The pains of growing are always worth it. Good luck and God Bless!!

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Apr-28-13 5:12 PM

So, its the end of the week - I think I was comment #17 of now #46.

This story reached MSP and national media? Really? As referenced the other day, it IS unfortunate - however, the boy WAS found, the boy WAS fine, the school HAS claimed responsibility and remorse. This mother is an opportunist and loving this media attention.

I still stand by my $100k referencer - I'm sure this mother has lawyers calling her hourly - who knows, Jerry Springer as well for that matter. The district has money and she's going to go for it - you can just see it.

Give this six months and there will be a "settlement" reached. Mark my I'm not a lawyer.

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Apr-27-13 10:44 AM

The parents absolutely should be upset and should have a meeting with the school when the parents are ready to meet. But where I have problem with this is that they go to the news coverage to get exposure, get an attorney, and say the community failed her and her family. Really! It was a bad mistake that should be dealt with, but when you get an attorney to see what you can do and "sell out" the community when this is over you now lost my support. This was unforgivable, but a possible lawsuit? You go to the media in the Cities when you feel that the School District is ignoring that something when horribly wrong. But when they did own up to it, the media and the attorney should have never happened.

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Apr-27-13 12:48 AM

I have a very difficult time believing that the school is covering up details. What would be the motive? There is no reason for this to have become a media circus, but since it has, the community better come together to support their school staff or they might find themselves paying for this child's private education.

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Apr-27-13 12:46 AM

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Apr-27-13 12:46 AM

Either the comments and agree/disagrees on this news story are loaded, or I have just lost all respect for this community. Why is everyone siding with her? Why is everyone siding with her? In general I am not in favor of public schools, but this mother chose to send her child to a public school at a VERY young age. She better get use to the imperfections because that's what she's going to get for the next 14 years. Teachers, paras, superintendents, etc are not super human beings and mistakes do happen. One teacher ultimately responsible for that many four year olds? It makes me sick that this person was suspended. Preschoolers get lost...that's what they do. It doesn't matter if it is a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, or a babysitter watching them...they get lost. "Sheer terror" in the few minutes it takes you to find your kids when they have decided to wander off on you in Walmart. You do not feel "sheer terror" after you have found the kid.

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Apr-26-13 8:09 PM

Maybe this would not have become national news if it would have been handled better. There should have been one person on the doorstep of the child's home explaining what happened, assuring them everything was ok and offering to personally drive them to pick up the child. Every third word out of his mouth should have been part of an apology and how he was personally going to make things right. Instead of taking ownership of what happened on his watch the statement was comprised of a hollow explanation of processes in place and someone messed up. It was made clear someone had already been singled out and suspended. One person has ultimate responsibility for this organization and should have fallen on his sword, not pointed it at others. Leaving a distraught mother as the spokesperson was definitely not thoughtful management.

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Apr-26-13 5:02 PM

What's the all the hub-bub about?


Negligence is a breach of a duty owed to other individuals. In this case, a special needs child. Why has USA Today, the New York Daily, and every other news source in the country [made the UK Daily Mail]carried this story? Because Breach of Duty regarding a child is a pretty big deal. So should be the consequences.

Opinions that proclaim "no harm, no foul" are just that...opinions, which in turn are ranked with that brown star shaped orifice....everybody's got one.

This parent has a legitimate claim of misfeasance effecting her child. There is shared negligence on the part of other staff assigned. Procedures were not followed that put that child in harm's way. The parent is under no obligation to ignore that to win some non-entity's approval on this commentary.

I will be interested in seeing what role the teacher's union plays in getting this incident minimized and swept under the community rug.

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Apr-26-13 11:39 AM

I should add that no one saw him standing there after the buses left. No one noticed him walking the 2+ miles before he was picked up by a friend. No one notified me until that friend brought him to my sil's house. No one from the school seemed to even care that a 5 year old was out walking country roads by himself. To this day (18 years later), it still rankles.

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Apr-26-13 11:37 AM

The only people that will benefit from this are the Attorneys,they will all smile and make sure this gets swept under the rug,nice and tidy like :)

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Apr-26-13 11:34 AM

When my son was in kindergarten, he got left behind at school. No one was monitoring the kids to make sure that all of the kids got on their buses. This was during the first week or two of school, and kindergarten was every other day. Anyway, he started walking home from school, which was several miles. Luckily for us, he was found by someone who knew him and us. ANYONE could have picked him up and harmed him or worse. Never did get a real apology from the school system. They did make sure that someone was outside the school to make sure kids transferred buses without mishap after that. We didn't sue the school, but man, that fear and anger was incredible, and I could very easily see why a parent might want to go down the lawsuit road--just to make sure it didn't happen again as one very big reason alone.

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Apr-26-13 10:29 AM

I just want to say thank you for all the ones that have agreed with my comments. I'm Bob Dole and I approve of this message!

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Apr-26-13 9:22 AM

Let's get the facts straight..the bus was 10-15 minutes outside of Marshall, not Brookings, when the situation was discovered. Sometimes it is better to tell parents things face to face rather than over the phone - I have learned this from experience as I was on the receiving end of a phone call from the school after my child had a rather severe accident during recess. At the end of the day we need to remember chaperones and parents are only human. Mistakes may occur. This was a difficult experience for the parents and they are entitled to be upset/emotional. The positive is the child is safe - no harm came to him. (The mom commented he wasn't crying.) That is the most important thing.

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Apr-26-13 9:04 AM

Not that it matters much but it was probably more 5 year olds than 4 year olds. I didn't mind my hold going- and I can guarantee you that I don't live or care for my child any less than anyone else cares or loves theirs. The stipulation with that is that I went along which every parent had the choice to do if they drove seperately and met the group there as did. Would I let my preschooler to without me? No. The children's museum isn't huge- it's rather small...but it wouldn't be my first choice for a preschool field trip....of probably pick a local park.

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Apr-26-13 9:03 AM

How much more publicity would there be if some farm kid forgot and had a pocket knife in his pocket and got caught with it? Honest Mistakes were made but in the end no harm was done. It should be obvious to everyone this is not a perfect world. My guess is the teacher in charge and chaperones made a honest mistake. At the same time as a parent I would be disappointed with the people I trusted to take care of my child and would probably want to express my feelings to the person who dropped the ball. The main thing to remember it wasn't intentional.

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Apr-26-13 8:34 AM

There's a count heads when the bus door is closed and the teacher is standing on the steps into the bus, blocking anyone trying to get off. Then, a chaperone walks down the aisle of the bus and counts kids. Then, a different chaperone counts.

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Apr-26-13 8:17 AM

Someone asked why 4 yr olds in the public school system? I assume it's the ECFE (Community Ed) run preschool. I question why the program (or district) approved 4 yr olds going on a field trip, on a bus, an hour away from home? Keeping 45 4-yr-olds together in a public place for any period of time would be like trying to hold that many bobbers under water. However, this is not the first time a child has been left behind, and it won't be he last. Last year in my nephew's district (not Marshall), 2 second graders were left at the Children's Museum (St Paul) and the principal himself drove back there to retrieve them. You count and recount, and still one of those swift little people (many of whom do not know how to listen very well) can make a dash for it. This is horrid, the parents deserve to be upset - but none of it was done with malice, and the adults involved HAVE to be devastated. The Whylly's need to put their dollar signs away.

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