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.


Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or john.ferguson@galvnews.com.

(33) comments

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

I am appalled in that apparently the school representatives on this particular trip had no plan in case something like this happened. A simple "buddy" system, perhaps one adult for each 5 children. Someone to check on the children as the trip ensues.

As soon as a child comes up to one of the adults and says, "Miss, Mister!....so and so is hurt!"....that's when a conscious plan of action should occur. Not just saying, "Oh, he'll be OK. Just tell him to sit under the cover." Guess if this boy was the son of a "mover or shaker", or one of the "popular" kids, the response would have been more humane.

As for not having a nurse available when the child and classmates returned to the campus: that's something else that a good campus should forsee. I know of a campus where if the nurse is not available, a staff member trained in first aid is the designated substitute.

This makes me so sad. Teachers, the vast majority of them, are caring, concerned, and sympathetic persons. Guess this wasn't the case here.

Robert Buckner

Expect the school to make a statement to discredit this story and incident.

gulfcoastexan
Larry Kirkendall

...gotta side with the Dad on this one, a botched job by those in charge of the field trip.

Ellen Morrison

Waiting for "GISD Communications" to come on the comments and spin this one....

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Response to confusedemmy posted at 7:48 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013:

Well, it will take some creative writing for "GISD Comm" to try to pull something off. I would imagine they won't touch this. It's truly an abomination. Something tells me there's a school right now that has some teachers/staff members sitting in a principal's office getting a good talkin' to.

Robert Buckner

Lars, don't sell these PR folks short. Like politicians they'll they'll you what they want you to hear so you will be happy with them. Words will be so twisted they can make you squirm, it's their job. And like a politician you cannot not always believe/trust them.

Timothy Thompson

I think it depends on the school, and clearly Scott needs to update their procedures. Every time one of my kids had a problem (my kids went/go to Austin and Ball), even for something so minor as a scraped knee or not feeling well, and he went to the nurse, I immediately got a call and my kid was well cared for.

If I was the father in this case I would be damn pissed too, the kid could have damaged the breakage even more by sitting around for three hours, and then having to try hobbling up the stairs.

I think it's time maybe GISD as a whole makes sure all the schools in their district know how to properly respond to injury/medical situations that arise with their students.

Ann Derek

My daughter suffered this same injury when she was 12. It was an OBVIOUS serious injury because her foot dangled limply from her leg & she had no control over it. She was not in pain initially because she was in shock. There was a question, because of her age, whether it would cause one leg to be shorter than the other, due to injury from the affected growth plate.

Our local hospital couldn't treat her (Pasadena, Tx) due to the seriousness of the injury & medical expertise required & referred us to a larger hospital. My daughter also required surgery, pins in her ankle & leg plus weeks in a cast.

This school has some explaining to do as to why they didn't see an obvious injury & for the needless pain they caused this child.

GISD Communications

As the story stated, school district policy dictates we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation in these types of situations. All ISDs follow the same procedures.
-GISD Communications

Steve Fouga

My calendar shows that May 24th was a Friday -- a school day. Why was Scott sponsoring a day at the beach for the children?? Shouldn't they have been in class? I can see taking the children to the beach for an educational experience, or to help clean, but to ride skimboards? The kids live in Galveston, after all. They can easily go to the beach on their own time.

Field trips should be educational, and focus on something different and unusual. Am I wrong?

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Response to Jake Buckner posted at 10:57 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013:

Well, Jake. I wondered that too as to why a field trip at this time. It's possible that the teachers tied in some type of instructional basis for the trip, loosey goosey as it probably was. For instance, if it was a science class, then maybe in some egghead scientific "Big Bang Theory" way they were using robots that mimic baby sea turtles. And by studying the "robot" turtle examples, they can transfer that data in finding out how endangered species can be better protected. Stuff like that. Either way, they should have been more attentive to this child's injury. That just chaps my hide [angry]

Island Bred

I'm in agreement they should of checked on the child to make sure he was OK after he was hurt. They should of checked to see if the swelling was increasing, etc, etc, On that note the child also should of wound up in the ER right after he was picked up by his Dad - NOT later that night. It seems that perhaps the teachers were doing about the same thing the Dad did. I'm sure there is an attorney that will be happy to take his money, his child will be the child everyone handels with kid gloves cause his Dad is vengful over something he obviously didn't do either and all will be well with the world. Stuff happens - if you don't want your child to go - fine. Next year parents will be signing waivers over stupid stuff like this.

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

Margurite, I'd be quite surprised if a waiver weren't already signed with respect to this trip. These days, I'll bet kids' parents have to sign twenty waivers before the kid even gets issued his first sheet of toilet paper.

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Regarding waivers and "permission forms": Many of these forms also have a statement that says something to the effect of "if any event warrants your child medical treatment, this waiver allows the school to take child to receive aid rendered".

That statement, I believe, means that if a child gets hurt, then the teachers/staff at the field trip can take him/her to any hospital or emergency center without parent contact at that given moment. Of course, while child is "en route", someone should be trying to contact parent so that mom/dad/guardian is in the loop ASAP.

I still can't believe these folks didn't have a game plan in regard to this student.

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

You mean, you don't think that was the game plan?

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Answer: No, I don't. In my view, an effective "game plan" would mean that if a child appears to have gotten hurt, there would be a strategies/"game plan/procedures/safeguards to take care of the situation.

Examples: 1. a responsible adult person who came to the field trip venue in a separate vehicle shall transport injured child to an emergency center. 2. Call parent to say child has complained of an injury. 3. If complaintant is injured to the degree that he/she cannot move or respond, call 911 for an ambulance.

From this story, apparently there was no "game plan" or set of procedures to respond to the injury. It is not an acceptable response to simply allow a person to hobble toward a cover for hours.

Now, apparently, something was amiss if the parent is able to say that the boy was not attended to. In my view, had the "game plan"/safeguard procedures been executed (i.e. to transport child to an emergency center)..then parent would have no reason to say that "he was under cover for hours w/o help."

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

And, I was correct in my "7:48 am on Tue, Jun 4, 2013" statement...

the GISD COMM folks haven't said a word. As Elmer Fudd would say, "shhh...be vewwy quiet."

Robert Buckner

Lars, GISD Com will say something as soon as Supt. Nichols pulls his string. He'll then invite you to join a committee he is forming to address the issue as he's done in the past concerning drugs on campus or whatever. I think he may have even invited Robert Strevell's rabbit friend to attend one of his meetings. I sure miss Strevell's comments on these forums.

GISD Communications

Actually, I did say a word - we can't comment on specifics with an ongoing investigation. It'll be that way for now and for any other incidents such as this in the future.

I generally make a point to clarify any misinformation that might be out there, but when it directly involves a particular student and an incident such as this, there isn't much I can say, other than the safety of our students is of the most importance and that the teachers were there checking on the student throughout the day (which is what was reported on Channel 2 and 11 last night).

While the family is able to say whatever they like, we simply can't give many facts or information due to district policy. It's the same at almost every ISD in Texas. It's what I told the reporter when he called.

Hope that helps clarify some info. Sorry I couldn't add to your discussion, Lars. You are right in that many districts wouldn't even go this far to acknowledge forum posters, but I like to make the public aware of what's happening as much as I can, even if it's not exactly what you would like to hear.

Now, time to finish up those graduation plans - highest class number in years. Too bad that couldn't be reported, eh?
-GISD Communications

GISD Communications

I miss Mr. Strevell. Once a vocal critic of the district, he took the time to meet with us (yes, a committee) and learn about what we are doing here to improve the schools. He was a great guy and I considered him a friend of the district.

Mr. Buckner, I've reached out to you before with no response. We'd still love to hear your thoughts.

Email: communications@gisd.org
Phone: 409-766-5145

I am here to listen to any concerns you may have. We are constantly working to improve our relationship with the community. I think we've been doing a pretty good job the last couple of years.
-GISD Communications

Island Bred

Well at least you aren't in the paper like my ISD - 3 guesses who it is...........[beam]

I must admit - I enjoy your posts whenever you make them and truth is - you are telling the truth. This island would have you hung off the 25th street statue if you were mouthing off about an open investigation.

Good Job and Good Luck with the graduations! Awesome stuff!

Robert Buckner

I don't think so Mr. Farrow. I'll limit my input by paying my taxes and exercise my right to free speech here on the forum. Just continue doing whatever it is they pay you to do and maybe Lars will join a committee.

George Croix

Over 4 decades I was drafted into many 'committees' and with few, very few, exceptions, more time was spent holding committee meetings than actually doing anything about the problem they were meeting about. Also, the overwhelming majority of these 'committees' could have been avoided if the Chair or other hot dog honcho type had just listened in the first place to the people actually involved at the front line level, some of whom were subsequently made to take time AWAY from the problem to try to get clueless committee Chairs to understand in public meetings what they could not/would not in the field.
The only basic differences in these 'committee' meetings, again with some, but few, exceptions, was who brought the dog and who brought the pony. The other was what type refreshments wwere served.
If you REALLY want to get a 'committees' attention, tell them bluntly, when those 'refreshments' are offered, that your folks out in the field aren't getting any of those as they try to solve the problem where it actually is, and you don't want what your other team members are not getting, too.
The blank stares are a real hoot!
#1 problem with committees is they are NEVER held on-site where the problem(s) actually are. You want a faster resolution to a problem, get out of the air conditioning and away from the cookies and get outside in the heat and mosquitos, or in the same room as the PO'd parent(s).

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

See my response to: kevjlang posted at 8:18 am on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 down the thread....

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

And, my response.....

Then there's always the "ignore it and it will go away" strategy. Especially with kids. After all, they're fast healers.... It's not their fault the kid didn't forget about his injury in 3 hours. What kind of a kid is he, anyway?

-- sarcasm off ;-)

Island Bred

BTW the story reads - his Dad sorta felt like it would go away as well. I'm sure he picked his child up waaaay before he wound up in the ER "later that evening". I'm thinking this parent wasn't much better than the teachers at the beach. Only difference is - the dad has lawyered up......... pretty sad I think. If you are going to sue someone over an injury they least you could do is be a better steward than those you are sueing......................

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

Not knowing the kid nor any of the other individuals involved, it's hard to say what might have been going through their minds. Don't know if the kid might have had a reputation for being over-dramatic, or if the school staff wasn't well versed in first aid. If it were me, and it appeared he was unable to put any weight on the leg, I'd think it might be something you'd want to have looked at pretty quickly. Overall, I'd expect that you'd have at least one or two staff members around that would be able to recognize something that requires more than just sitting down in the shade with an ice bag.

Now, a parent should also have first aid training, but it's not required. Also, dad's tend to like their boys to "tough it out".

Overall, though, someone needs to do an honest assessment of how much harm might have been done by just immobilizing him for 3 hours. Certainly, if they had taped him up and made him walk from East Beach to Jamaica Beach picking up empty bottles and cans, they might have been guilty of doing potential harm to him, but if it was just a matter of dealing with an extra few hours of discomfort, it's hard to do much more than give the people that should have acted quicker a couple of dope slaps. In other words, if they'd acted promptly, his prognosis would be 6 weeks in a cast and then therapy afterward, and with the few hours delay, his prognosis is 6 weeks in a cast and then therapy afterward, all he missed out was the opportunity to sit in the ER a few hours earlier and miss a few hours of lounging on the beach. Either way, the only thing that could have prevented Dad from having to take time off to take his son to the doctor's would have been for him to have not broken his leg at all.

Yes, the school owed the family an explanation, and the school needs to revisit its injury recognition processes. However, I'm not sure there's much cause for everyone to lawyer up.

Steve Fouga

I'm still surprised at the lack of comment about the ISD sponsoring a beach trip on a school day -- for kids who can go to the beach any day they want.

John Ferguson
John Wayne Ferguson

Hi folks. I just want to clarify something. Mr. Diaz told he brought his son directly to the emergency room, and the diagnosis came later that evening. He said he didn't wait to bring his son to the hospital.

John Wayne Ferguson
409-683-5226
john.ferguson@galvnews.com

Island Bred

A trip to the emergency room later that night revealed that Diaz Jr. had fractured his tibia, fibula and growth plate.

Just going by what ya printed up my friend.

kevjlang
Kevin Lang

Jake, I'm not sure there's much productive in that line of questioning. It's likely that the only reasonable explanation is that at this point in the year, sitting in the classroom would have just been a waste of time, so they figured they'd waste the time on the beach where the kids might at least be a bit more pleasant to be around.

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Well, this time of year there is "graduation" field trips. Weird thing is, in the old days, the only "graduating" was 12th graders getting a HS diploma.

Now, we "graduate" preschoolers, kindergartners, 5th graders going on to middle school, et cetera.

Ipso facto - several more reasons to "party up" and go on a field trip. Anyhoo - like I was saying, I imagine this field trip had some kind of instructional component - science or math at the beach (measurement), or biological/marine study, or maybe they were supposed to stare at the Gulf and write a poem (English class).

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

Response to kevjlang posted at 5:00 pm on Wed, Jun 5, 2013:

Well, upon more reflection - I recall someone telling me that every teacher who has a classroom participates in a CPR-type activity right before the school year begins. This being done just in case some type of aid needs to be rendered. Along with the quick course is a general "first aid" lesson that includes how to respond to possible injury.

Surely, there had to have been one teacher/staff member with the wherewithall to say, "Look, let's play this safe. Let's take this boy over to a minor emergency center or the ER." You would think that would be a first-nature type of thing that educated folks would do - just common sense...to respond to it and not just let the boy sit there.

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