Pell City mum wants better playground equipment after daughter’s injury

PELL CITY, Alabama (WIAT) – A Pell City mom is on a mission to upgrade the school’s playground equipment after her daughter was injured last week.

Lynette Baron has a 6-year-old daughter named Jasmine, who is in kindergarten at Walter Kennedy Elementary School.

“She has severe autism, global developmental delay, epilepsy,” Barron said.

Even though Jasmine has special supervision at school, her mother said the child somehow injured himself on the playground last week.

“The curved thing they said her foot slipped off and she hit her face on the other rung of the bars. Her teeth went through her lower lip, left several holes here throughout, broke a few teeth and she fell and hit the ground,” Barron said.

After the crash, Barron hosted a meeting with school and district leaders to push for improved equipment and a more inclusive environment for children with special needs.

Pell City Schools Superintendent Dr. James Martin said the meeting was productive and leaders were already brainstorming ideas.

“They are doing a full review of our equipment and things and where we are in terms of our equipment there. But at the same time, some things we could do in the process to even with what we have there to try to make it a safer environment for our students,” Martin said.

Martin stressed that student safety is the district’s top priority. Playground equipment is inspected regularly, Martin said. He added that he was happy that Barron came to the district in search of solutions.

“We’re working on a plan and the parent is part of that plan, and I would say those are the most productive meetings because the thing is when you get everyone together it creates synergy,” said said Martin.

According to Barron, the school and his insurer will contribute to the medical costs of his child. She hopes her voice will be heard and that changes could improve safety on other campuses.

“They also said they’ve already started looking at the playground to bring it up to ADA standards as well, so like I said my daughter took one for the team, but something happens because of it and something good comes out of it,” says Baron.

With only a few weeks left in the school year, there is no clear timeline for changes to be made. Martin said district and local officials will continue to work with Barron to find the best way forward.

Harold B. McConnell