Mother’s questions about what happened go unanswered
By Monique Washington
A Nevis mother is distraught after what she alleges is “negligence” by a prep-school thatresulted in her daughter being shocked by an electrical short-circuitand spending two days under observation in the hospital.
Sheba Jeffers,mother of a 10-year-old girl who attends the Maude Cross Preparatory School, expressed displeasure and frustration, allegingtheschool did not properly safeguard her child. She contacted the school, but has been unable to obtain anyexplanation aboutwhat happened or why her daughter was shocked.
According to Jeffers, her daughter sang and danced during a performance at the Maude Cross Preparatory School’s 39th anniversary Calypso Show hosted by the school’s Parent Teacher Association.
After her daughter and another child ended their performance, the child grabbed a pole supporting the tent above the stage and was joltedby an electrical shock. That child grabbed Jeffers’s daughter and as the audience watched in horror, bothchildren were shocked.
Jeffers said both girls held onto the pole, and were unable to let go.The distraught mother told the Observer that as she watched, her daughter was jolted by the electrical charge in the pole, and appeared to lose consciousnessfor a moment.
“When my daughter caught herself she began screaming,” Jeffers said. “Then the other girl also began screaming. I rushed my daughter to the hospital, where she was admitted for observation on Friday and Saturday.”
Jeffers said her daughter complained about leg pains, was unable to walk and had to be transported in a wheelchair when she was discharged from the hospital.
“My daughter has not been the same, in addition to the leg pains, she has displayed muscle pain,” Jeffers explained. “She has asked my mother if she is going to die.”
“After many doctors’ visits they have determined the shock has caused internal damage,” Jeffers said.
According to Jeffers, her daughter has no physical damage, but there is internal damage. She complains about muscle weakness, chest pains and high potassium levels.
“I don’t know what issues might arise because of this, or when they might occur,” Jeffers explained. “I don’t know how much all of this might cost.”
Jeffers said that since her daughter’s discharge from the hospital, no one from the board, PTA or school has contacted her.
“I asked the school for a meeting, but they keep saying the school is made up of board members,” Jeffers said.“Because all of the board members work, they say I will have to wait for anappropriate time when they can meet with me.”
“I want to know what went wrong that night,” Jeffers said,“someone needs to tell me something and no one is telling me anything.”
Jeffers believes a loose electrical grounding wire might have caused the problem, a problem the school knew about.
“They knew that they were having electrical problems, they could have postponed the show until they got the problem fixed,” Jeffers explained.“They have taken this thing so lightly; I could have been preparing to bury my daughter.”
A letter from the school to Jeffers, obtained by the Observer, acknowledged “the unfortunate electric shock whereby your daughter was injured.”
“As far as we are aware, the production and technical team took necessary precaution and safety measures to ensure that the proper electrical facilities were in place for the show and one could not have anticipated or intended for such a terrifyingoccurrence,” the letter reads.
The letter further states that the school will “undertake all and any reasonable medical expenses incurred in the treatment and care of your child as it relates to the incident aforementioned.”
Jeffers questions the wording of the letter, saying the use of the term “reasonable” expenses is questionable.
“It sounds to me like they will only pay a certain amount,” Jeffers said. “I don’t know how much this will cost.”
The Observer attempted to contact Maude Cross Preparatory School’s principal on Wednesday and was told the principal was “unavailable.” Attempts to contact PTA President Jackie Hunkins Taylor, the signatory of the letter to Jeffers were also unsuccessful.
Jeffers describes Maude Cross Prep as a great school. She said she has seen the great results in her daughters education, but “the way they are handling this issue is not right.” Her daughter has since returned to school.