GALVESTON — What was supposed to be a pleasant day at the beach turned into a painful one for a Galveston seventh-grader.
Now that student’s father is upset at the leadership of the school for both the way his son got injured and the way the school is responding to it.
William Diaz Sr., 46, said his son, also named William, broke his leg during a May 24 Scott Collegiate Academy field trip to the seawall beach.
Diaz Jr. said he was injured while using a skim board that was brought on the field trip by one of his teachers. While using the toy — a boogie-board size piece of fiberglass or wood that is flung across the ground and then stepped on to hydroplane across the shallow water near the shore — Diaz said that he missed a step and twisted his ankle. He said he quickly realized that he could not walk and told one of his teachers that he was injured.
“I immediately couldn’t walk,” Diaz Jr. said, saying that the pain was a about a “seven or an eight” on a scale of one to 10.
He said he was told to put ice on his leg and that he sat under a covered area until it was time to leave, about three hours later.
It was not until it was time to walk back to the school that teachers realized that their student was unable to walk, Diaz Sr. said. After one of his son’s friends had to help him up a set of stairs, the teachers called for a car to bring him back to school.
When Diaz Jr. got back to the school, he said he did not see a school nurse, but instead had to call and wait for his father to pick him up from school and bring him to the emergency room.
A trip to the emergency room later that night revealed that Diaz Jr. had fractured his tibia, fibula and growth plate. The 5-foot 10-inch 13-year-old underwent surgery last week to insert a pin in his leg. He must wear a cast for the next six to seven weeks.
A spokesman for the school district said the district was investigating but no teachers had been disciplined as of Friday afternoon.
Diaz Jr. has missed more than a week of school, and his father, a single parent, has had to take days off from his job as a longshoreman to get his son to doctor’s appointments.
Even though his son’s treatment was covered by insurance, Diaz Sr. said he was unhappy.
“I’m mad because he stayed there three hours with a broken bone and with the guy that brought the skim board,” Diaz Sr. said. “If he just hurt himself and stayed there three hours I would be mad, but not as mad as I am.”
Even though his son didn’t scream in pain or insist to be brought back to the school, Diaz Sr. said the teachers on the trip should have done more to recognize and treat his son’s injury. Diaz Jr. said his teachers did not check on his condition until it was time to leave.
“It’s not his decision, it’s your decision — you’re the adults there,” Diaz Sr. said. “He’s not a doctor. He’s a kid.”
Diaz Sr. said he had spoken with police officials and consulted with an attorney. He has also met with school officials on at least two occasions, but said he wasn’t satisfied.
He also said that this is not the first time his son had been injured at the school. Last fall, he said, his son broke his thumb while helping to construct a set for a school play. He said that, as with the more recent incident, he did not get a call from the school about the injury.
According to the Texas Guide to School Health Programs, students suffering from non life-threatening injuries, like broken bones, should be evaluated as soon as a parent can be notified or after a couple of hours. According to the school district’s parent-student handbook, parents are asked each year to provide emergency contact information.
The guide also says that schools should keep incident reports to document school-related incidents — in part to protect school personnel “against charges of negligence.” Diaz Sr. said the school has not shown him an incident report.