COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Midlands family is concerned their child was put at risk when he had to clean a bathroom at school.
It happened at the end of the last school year at Meadow Glen Elementary in Lexington.
WIS spoke to that student’s parents, who say after hearing such great reviews about Meadow Glen Elementary, they searched for and purchased a home just so they could be in that school district. Now, half of the family is staying with relatives so their kids can go to a different school.
The parents describe their seven-year-old son as an “A” and “B” student who loves school, but his parents say he no longer feels comfortable going back to Meadow Glen after he says a teacher forced him to clean the student bathroom in their classroom.
According to the family, the incident took place right before school let out for summer break back in May.
The student’s mom, Brittney Smith, says met with school officials who told her because some teachers at the school were frustrated by how students were leaving the bathrooms, a few teachers came up with a policy where certain students were chosen to clean the restrooms.
Smith says her son told her he was forced to do this multiple times without any gloves.
“He didn’t feel that he should’ve had to clean it up, but they forced him to do it anyway and it’s not his responsibility as a student of the school district,” Smith said. “According to Lexington One’s handbook for their employees, they go through OSHA training on bloodborne pathogens and communicable diseases. So, their staff should’ve been well aware that they put my son at risk of being able to contract something in the restroom. The district also acknowledged that that wasn’t a part of their policy and wasn’t an appropriate policy.”
Smith considers the incident a case of abuse and neglect. That’s why she says in addition to complaining to the school district, she has also filed a police report. She says she does not want this matter swept under the rug.
“I feel like safety should be looked at on all forefronts, not only when we’re talking about a shooter or bullying, or whatever at the school," Smith said. "They need to hold the teachers to the same standard and I don’t feel like Lexington School District One protected my child. There was nothing sent out from the district. No other parents were notified that their child could have been put at risk for any kind of diseases, or whatever, and I just want to see those teachers who were involved held accountable.”
When reached for comment, Lexington School District One officials confirmed this was an issue during the last school year with a few teachers, but said it is no longer happening at the school.
A district representative said the school is unable to comment publicly on student or personnel matters. School officials added they do not want to interfere with the Town of Lexington Police Department investigation.
LPD issued the following statement in response to the police investigation:
“During the course of the investigation the detective found that a student cleaning up after themselves in the bathroom was a classroom rule that this teacher had in place for her classroom. The detective was advised by the Lexington County School District One that this classroom rule was changed so that a student is now not responsible to clean up the bathroom if a mess is made and instead janitorial staff is called.
It was found during the course of this investigation that there was no criminal act by the teacher and no charges were filed. The case was closed on August 15, 2019.“