February 8, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck
It has been more than week after Singer kindergartner Carlie Pierce nearly died on the school playground. Thursday night the Beauregard Parish School Board heard concerns regarding the school's safety.
Our cameras were not aloud in the board's meeting. According to Beauregard Parish School Superintendent Rita Mann they currently have a no-camera policy and have been instructed by the State Attorney General to make guidelines before allowing the meetings to be filmed. However, we did hear from a current Singer Elementary teacher and Carlie's family members, all who expressed serious safety concerns at the school.
Of the 16 items on the school board's agenda, it was the very last that had the tiny meeting room packed. Among those forced to stand was Singer High School Pre-K teacher Tiffany Burnett. "I'm concerned for my students. They are all like my own children and I want them to be safe on the playground," said Burnett.
Burnett is talking about the conditions of the school's playground. It was last Monday that her former student, 6-year-old Carlie Pierce was critically injured while playing on the school's property when a six inch steel pipe fell on her near the high school's shop area. Burnett went before the school board pointing out obvious safety hazards on at the Singer High. She says the accident could have easily been prevented.
"The lack of a fence, there is no fence between this area," said Burnett. "Also the playground equipment is in bad shape. We are in desperate need of new equipment. All the other schools in Beauregard Parish have nice new stuff and we are forced to make due with the left overs."
Carlie is still recovering at a Shreveport's LSU hospital in ICU and looks forward to coming home. "She's hanging in there and wants to go to Chuck E. Cheese's," said Carlie's grandfather Carl Pierce, Jr.
Pierce says his granddaughter has made some improvement in the last few days and is now listed in stable condition. Meanwhile, he says the family feels not enough is being done to prevent this from happening again. "They need to put some type of permanent fence up," said Pierce. "We don't want another little kid to get hurt or a big one for that matter. It could have just as easily been a big one that got hurt."
Miss Burnett was only given five minutes to speak. After hearing what she had to say Beauregard Parish School Board President Stuart Hayes told Burnett and family members they need to take their safety concerns to the school's principal and not the school board. Meanwhile, we're told that the school plans to have a permanent fence put up some time next week to prevent future injuries.