School Forces Girl in Wet Swimsuit to Stand Outside in Sub-Zero Weather

Kayona Hagen-Tietz
Kayona Hagen-Tietz

The trouble began when a school in Minnesota rang the fire alarm after a science experiment didn’t go well.  Fourteen-year-old Kayona Hagen-Tietz was swimming in the school pool at the time.  School officials refused to let her grab her clothes and forced her to go outside.  Once there, they refused to allow her to go into another building or to sit in a car in the parking lot.

Como Park High SchoolHer sacrifice enabled Como Park High School to conduct an unplanned fire drill without violating a school fraternization rule.

The Como Park High freshman, along with a classmate, were in the school’s pool when the fire alarm went off. The classmate’s clothes were poolside; but Hagen-Tietz’s clothes were in her locker and she was blocked from retrieving them by a teacher who rushed her out of the building.

Wearing nothing but a towel and her bathing suit, Hagen-Tietz stood outside with fellow students as administrators determined what triggered the alarm. It was 5 degrees below zero in St. Paul that day. With the windchill, it was 25 degrees below zero.

Minnesota schools generally do not conduct fire drills during the winter months. CBS affiliate WCCO reports that smoke from a “science experiment” set off the alarm.

In the meantime, teachers feared to openly violate a school policy that prohibits students from sitting in a faculty member’s car.

Her fellow students, at least, demonstrated a grasp of civilized behavior. Her classmates huddled around her, someone gave her a sweatshirt to put around her feet and eventually a teacher lent her a coat (The girl was in a swim suit and wasn’t allowed to get her clothes but the teachers could grab their coats?) but even with that her bare feet were frostbitten.

After Hagen-Tietz had suffered for ten minutes in sub-zero weather, a teacher finally received administrative permission to let her sit inside her car until students were allowed back inside.

Eva Tietz, the shivering student’s mother, told WCCO that a doctor discovered frostbite on Hagen-Tietz’s feet. The freshman will need to take pain medications.

“Immediately, when they had seen that, they should have had some kind of protocol,” Tietz told National Review Online, adding that while she understands the need to evacuate students as a precaution, she objects to the follow-up. Tietz notes that her daughter could have also been allowed to go into an elementary school across the street to get out of the cold. Had she let her own daughter stand outside in the cold weather, Tietz points out, she would probably have faced stiff legal charges.

St. Paul Public Schools released a statement saying the district will continue to “regularly review its procedures” with the city’s fire marshal, and will make changes where they see fit. Tietz wants an apology from the school and recommends Como Park High revisit its policies to prevent similar lapses in judgment.

Everyone involved with this who works in the school system literally endangered a student’s life, because they have had their brains shoehorned into narrow legalistic modes of behavior. They shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near kids, and criminal prosecution should be considered. No more fooling around with this idiocy.

Between this and the numerous cases of little kids suspended from school for making a gun with their fingers, going pow-pow, drawing a firearm or even wearing a shirt that mentions Second Amendment rights, our educational system has been unionized and overlawyered right out of common sense.

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