A 14-year-old high schooler in St. Paul, Minnesota suffered frostbite when her teachers made her stand outside in nothing but a wet bathing suit during a fire drill in the middle of winter.
“The alarm went off and I was like, ‘Is it just a drill? Do I really have to go outside?’” Kayona Hagen-Tietz told CNN about the alarm going off during health class. “And (the teacher) was like, ‘No, we usually don’t have fake ones in the winter.’”
Kayona, who had been swimming in the pool, was rushed outside with her friends. Her clothes were in her locker and all she had time to grab was her towel.
The teachers didn’t allow Kayona to sit in a car or another building. One eventually gave her a jacket, while a friend gave her a sweatshirt to cover her bare feet.
“We kind of huddled up and made a circle around me and the other kids who were cold,” Kayona said.
After 10 minutes of exposure on a day with a low of negative 8 and a high of 12, a teacher gave in and allowed Kayona and another student to wait inside her car.
Kayona’s mother, Eva Tietz, was shocked by her daughter’s treatment.
“As soon as they saw her outside soaking wet and in her swimsuit, they should have done something,” she said.
“If I had a fire and brought my children out in that condition, I’m sure I would be charged in some way or another if I didn’t instantly bring them into a neighbor’s house or someplace else,” Tietz said. “The ultimate goal is to keep them safe and protect our children and in this instance, they did a really poor job.”
WCCO reports that St. Paul Public School officials said in a statement that they would review their fire drill procedures and make changes that the fire marshal recommends.