Last Friday, the entire fourth grade class of 72 students at Blue Ridge Elementary was instructed to stand outside for the full duration of the usual recess period, about 20 minutes.
The temperature in Columbia that day was 93 degrees and the heat index was over 100.
In a letter to parents, Principal Kristen Palmer said, “The students were not demonstrating appropriate behavior nor were they following instructions from the lunch room monitors after updated reminders.”
Fourth grade parent Reknecka McTye said her daughter was not allowed to shade herself with her lunchbox or drink water while her supervisors watched from the shade.
McTye said that her daughter was exhausted and irritated when she came home from school and had head and stomach aches from being out in the heat for so long. Casey Cheek, another fourth grade parent, said her daughter came home tired as well and laid down as soon as she got home from school.
Both parents spoke to school administrators after the incident. Since then, a different supervisor has been present for recess with water for any child that needs it.
Columbia Public Schools said they take this very seriously and ask parents to help talk to students about appropriate behavior.
CPS said they have other policies to promote good behavior and have implemented several solutions so it does not happen again.