Como Park High reviewing fire protocol after swimsuit-clad student gets frostbite

Categories: Education, Winter
KayonaHagenTietz.jpg
WCCO screengrab -- Kayona Hagen-Tietz is at right.
Around 8:30 a.m. on February 26, the fire alarm went off at St. Paul's Como Park High School. It wasn't a drill.

Some students were wrapping up swimming class at the time. One of them, 14-year-old freshman Kayona Hagen-Tietz, had lingered in the pool longer than most of her classmates and ended up outside the school in her wet swimsuit, without shoes. Temperatures at the time were 5 below with a windchill 20 degrees colder.

Hagen-Tietz later told her story to WCCO. She said she stood outside like that for 10 minutes. Although a teacher eventually gave her a jacket and a student gave her a sweatshirt to wrap around her feet, her feet ended up frostbitten.

SEE ALSO: Semen-filled cupcake scandal rocks St. Paul's Como Park High School

Reached for comment yesterday, district spokesperson Toya Stewart Downey told us, "Nobody wants any child outside in cold weather. What I can say with certainty is that this will not happen again in St. Paul Public Schools."

Stewart Downey told us district officials have already had discussions about how the fire alarm protocol can be changed. One possibility is to mandate that when students are swimming, a robe and slippers be kept by the pool so they can be put on before students have to go outside. Another is to have a "point of exit near the pool so fire responders know students are outside and can be sure to reach them."

But ultimately, changes of that sort aren't just up to the school -- the St. Paul Fire Marshal has to sign off as well, and that hasn't happened yet. 

"It's not like we can make a decision and change things the next day," Stewart Downey said. "School districts and schools have to be in compliance with the fire department and their policies and rules."

While vowing that a student would never again be forced to stand outside inadequately dressed for brutally cold conditions, Stewart Downey did suggest Hagen-Tietz isn't completely without blame.

(For more, click to page two.)

My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
TheConservativeJerk
TheConservativeJerk topcommenter

When teachers and staff are more concerned about their job and "policy" than they are about the children. 

Missy Pederson
Missy Pederson

My IQ bottomed out simply reading that headline. It couldn't really afford any additional hits either.

Jim Jesiek
Jim Jesiek

Perhaps the school board members & other powers that be need a dip in the same pool & then send them outside for a spell. Might speed up their thought process on how to fix the problem once their brains thaw.

Sharon Johnson
Sharon Johnson

Can't believe the folks here who are blaming the girl. If she had been in her parents' custody when something like this happened, they would be in jail now. Why would it be any different for those who were responsible for her safety at school?

Tasha Rose
Tasha Rose

*slow clap* bravo SPPS.... just another big fail among many.

Kerry J. McCarty
Kerry J. McCarty

Seems like common sense is not so common Como Park High. The school Administrators are at fault for not letting her retrieve her clothes, sit in a car or even wait inside another building.

Kim Tee
Kim Tee

Kids at River Falls High had a bomb scare last week, and they all had to shiver in the hockey arena for 2 hours. Some kids got frostbite in that situation as well. I'm not sure what the alternative is either.

Jill Trebiatowski
Jill Trebiatowski

If they are going to do a fire drill then they need to have something set up for situations like this. If it was a real fire then when help arrived they would have a warm place for students like this.

midwestexplorer81
midwestexplorer81

This is what happens when teachers and kids behave like programmed robots responding to alarms, bells and whistles without using common sense. I would have ran as fast as I could to get my clothes and then ran out of the building, screaming teachers be damned.

williamcarllindsey
williamcarllindsey

I think there is some blame to be laid on both sides of the table here. Speaking as a Como Park High School grad, I can tell you that I (and a majority of my peers) rarely "obeyed" the teachers there, especially the gym teachers (part high school mentality, part crappy teachers). If it were me, I would have ran across the small parking lot to my friend's house that was about 50 ft away from the school. Or I would have grabbed a shirt and shoes before going outside, no matter the urgency. If she was so slow to get out of the pool, she obviously didn't feel rushed, so I don't understand why she didn't have time to grab any clothes. Did she not realize she was walking outside in nothing but a wet swimsuit? What did she think was going to happen?


That all being said, what the hell were the teachers thinking just letting her stand outside like that? Again, I will emphasize, most of the teachers at Como (and especially the gym teachers) are unenthusiastic to say the least, and downright sleazy to say the most. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if I found out that the gym teachers were having a laugh about it and enjoying watching her dance around in the cold in her skivvies (seriously, there were MULTIPLE child-teacher relationships happening when I was there and I often heard the 2 male gym teachers having lively discussions about girls in my class. It was gross). They also frequently spiked their coffee and made minimal attempts to hide it. So yeah, drunk & perverted teachers and a kid with no common sense = this story. 

Clint Cochran
Clint Cochran

This comment section is suffering from brain freeze.

hopelessdems
hopelessdems

common fucking sense. use it or die in the cold and save the gene pool from your stupidity. 

Ashley Nicole
Ashley Nicole

Yes I am serious. Have some common sense of your own here! Listen and do as youre told of go stand back in the entry way if there was no smoke there. Id go inside or find something else right away not stand there for 10 minutes and wait.

Elisa Maria
Elisa Maria

Are you frickin serious? Boo!! Hiss!

Mary Cooper
Mary Cooper

That's some serious high level victim blaming.

Ärëly Coricci
Ärëly Coricci

Some people lack the common sense. If I was the girl I would have disobeyed. And if I was the teacher I would find a way that she didn't have to stay out like that. It seems more important to follow procedures than risking someones live. It doesn't matter some people have the ability to think on their own. Some others are just waiting to be told what to do.

Jamison Arend
Jamison Arend

Damn, my kid went to school there last year...

Bill Fosse
Bill Fosse

Why couldn't you have just stood in the hallway by the door if there's no smoke there's no fire they need to change the rules a little bit it ain't summer concrete can't burn down

Sarah Butler
Sarah Butler

This poor girl listened to adults like she was taught, but the adults failed her. I would've also violated any policy to save her from permanent skin damage. I hope she wins a lawsuit and is able have enough money to pay for private school and college.

kel0
kel0

You're right, Stewart Downey! She should know better than to linger an extra few minutes in the pool when everybody knows a FIRE could break out ANY SECOND NOW! What a bunch of shit.

Kirk Burback
Kirk Burback

It’s sad that the ones employed to teach our children could not choose the welfare of a child over their job. If I were a teacher, I would violate any stupid policy to protect the health of a student. And if the teacher is tenured, you cannot lose your job. Sad…and rather pathetic.

Bob B Bopp
Bob B Bopp

Admin is always full of good ideas, aren't they? Cubicles beget genius, I always say.

Ashley Nicole
Ashley Nicole

If it wasnt a drill most likely there probably wasnt much to do. If I was outside in that I would have went to someone right away. Dont make people do everything for you. You are not helpless. When the firetrucks got there since it wasnt a drill I wouldve went and got in their truck since most of the teachers probably didnt have their car keys. Common sense people. Dont just stand there and freeze. Do something about it. That is what I want to know. Did she try to do anything or just wait for someone to come to her? At that age you are should be smart enough to do something about your own problems. This isnt a kindergartener were talking about.

Heather Wisell
Heather Wisell

Where are the damn adults?! What kind of idiot teachers aloud this to happen?! Really, wet, fridges cold and eventually a teacher gave her a coat?!

Dara Drager
Dara Drager

We had a fire drill in 5th grade during swimming in gym class. The teachers did the same thing to us. Just shoes and a towel and we were in our swim suits.

Nicola Murray
Nicola Murray

So weird that this was in the news in other states before any coverage here in MN. Sad.

SosMpls
SosMpls

These are the mindless drones who can't think for themselves and just got a 8.6% pay raise over the next two years. Next time they tell you "It's for the children" tell them where to go!

Truth_Teller_1
Truth_Teller_1 topcommenter

@midwestexplorer81 Yes, the automaton, authoritarian state.   No reason for a fire drill with temps as they were this winter.  The teachers, the administration, the fire marshals, are all sharing one IQ.   If this is their level of common sense, no wonder many of the kids graduate knowing very little.

I feel sorry for the captives (kids) that have to be in an environment with morons like this.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

You are obviously not familiar with our Education system. There is zero latitude for common sense. Only the rules as laid down by the school board and union.

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...