TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Taunton Superintendent John Cabral has requested an independent administrative review of the district’s response to an incident among students on an elementary school playground last week.
Cabral said the incident happened during recess at the Elizabeth Pole Elementary School.
The superintendent explained that the students were playing a game with a jump rope where they wrapped it around one another, pulled on it and spun in circles.
The game left one student with injuries to her neck, which Cabral said she reported to a school nurse.
“After a thorough investigation by school officials, including interviewing the students involved, it has been determined that the incident was an accident,” Cabral said in a statement. “At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that there was any malicious intent behind this incident.”
Cabral described the incident, though accidental, as “deeply troubling,” especially since the student’s parents weren’t immediately notified.
“Ensuring student safety and wellbeing is our core responsibility, and communication is a key part of that responsibility,” Cabral said. “We are committed to ensuring we are more proactive moving forward, beginning with the implementation of a corrective action plan for the school staff members involved, as well as professional development around this issue for all administrators in the district.”
“I want to sincerely apologize to the family of this student for our failure in communication,” he continued. “We will be reviewing our policies and procedures as it pertains to the reporting and communication of student injuries.”
The superintendent said a school resource officer did try to contact the student’s parents following the incident but was unsuccessful. No other attempts to reach the student’s parents were made.
Cabral said the independent review will determine whether the district’s policies and procedures were properly followed. The investigator will also recommend any actions that should be taken moving forward.
“I would like to assure our school community that I intend to make the necessary decisions at the conclusion of this investigation to ensure all procedures all strictly followed for the benefit and safety of all our Taunton students,” Cabral said.