Follow CBSPHILLY Facebook | Twitter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The parents of a child who suffered second-degree burns at a Philadelphia elementary school are demanding answers. They just want to make sure their son is learning in a safe environment and out of harm’s way.
But they say he can’t even use a bathroom without coming home with second-degree burns. They want to know how this could happen.
“It burned,” Jaden Smith said.
Those were just two words to describe what the 5-year-old Smith felt when he bumped into an exposed hot water pipe in his kindergarten classroom’s bathroom.
“I was going to the bathroom, right? And I was dancing and singing and I danced into the pipe and hit my face and burned it,” Smith said.
It took some convincing, but Smith finally showed Eyewitness News the move – the moonwalk – that left him with the burn at Blankenburg Elementary School.
Though Smith is all smiles now, he certainly wasn’t Wednesday afternoon and neither was his father, James Smith.
“How is something like this open to children? How do children have access to this bathroom?” James Smith said. “Prior to it happening, the staff knew that the pipe was uncovered so it should have been off-limits to children.”
This is the pipe that sparked Jaden Smith’s trip to the hospital.
Maintenance has since covered the hot water pipe.
“It’s unacceptable for portions of our building to be dangerous in this way,” Lee Whack, a Blankenburg Elementary School spokesperson, said.
The School District of Philadelphia says it’s an unfortunate situation, but blames this dangerous oversight on lack of funding.
“We have $4.5 billion worth of deferred maintenance in our schools and that would just be to bring things up to par,” Whack said.
Even with funding issues, parents say the safety of the students should be the school district’s top priority.
“You expect to send your kids to school, you expect them to come back the same way you sent them to school,” James Smith said.
Jaden Smith hasn’t been to school since the incident.
James Smith said they’re waiting for his wound to heal, but the plan is for the 5-year-old to return to school on Monday.