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Taunton Superintendent issues conclusion of investigation concerning child injured at school playground



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TAUNTON — Superintendent John Cabral reports that an independent administrative review into the facts and circumstances surrounding a recent incident involving a student who was injured on a school playground has concluded.

The investigation was undertaken by L’Italien Investigative Services of Pembroke. The administrative review, which concluded earlier this month, investigated an incident that occurred on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the Elizabeth Pole Elementary School involving a group of students at recess where a student’s neck was injured by a jump rope.

Following the conclusion of the review, a Corrective Action Plan has been created that will require all TPS Administrators to participate in various professional development, including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for administrators and school nurses, according to Cabral. The district will contract with an outside vendor/consultant to oversee the DEI training. This training deals in great part with the process of communication within the School Administrator group.

TPS administrators will also receive multiple levels of training in the area of communication, including both for public relations and communication with the media and outside stakeholders, as well as communicating with caregivers via the district’s student information system (SIS).

Lastly, the school system and nurse manager will be partnering with the non-profit organization Manet Community Health Center, which has a location in Taunton. The Manet Community Health Center will serve as an additional resource to the nurse manager and staff in an advisory role.

In addition to the professional development, Taunton Public Schools will be clarifying to all staff that an adult must accompany a student to the nurse’s office any time they are sent from recess and the student’s family is to be promptly notified if any substantial injury has occurred. Any injury that was intentionally provoked by another student, the nurse will communicate this to the building administrator who will then call the student’s family to discuss any investigation that may be needed.

Cabral stated that the investigation concluded that there were no violent or combative actions involved during that recess and the injury was the result of an accident while the students were at play.

The mother of the injured child expressed her frustration after the incident.

According to Cabral, lunch recess assistants at the Pole Elementary School will be engaging in training opportunities led by representatives from the nonprofit group Playworks, including ways to offer safe and responsive response with students who may be in need.

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