A 7-year-old boy was mauled by a leopard at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, during a school field trip. The student, a first grader at Linwood Elementary School is thankfully is good condition now but questions are looming about where the blame should fall.
The child suffered scratches and bruises and was taken to the hospital. School officials report that he will be fine and will fully recover.
It happened after the boy climbed into the leopard’s den.
One little girl gives a tale of the incident as reported on KSN.com:
“I ran off, I was too scared to stay,” said a first grade girl, standing by her father outside of the school, Friday afternoon. “My friend climbed over the fence trying to pet the baby leopard, and I guess the mom attacked him. It was all over his face, blood coming down, he got bit in the head, there were scratches all over his arm.”
Now parents at the school are becoming wary of allowing their children on field trips. Some are blaming the zoo, which is kind of ridiculous when the leopard was minding its own business in its den and there are signs posted all over not to climb over the fences. Surely by the age of 7, the boy should have known it was dangerous. But even that is speculation since we don’t know if this child suffers from learning difficulties or behavioral issues. So the responsibility does come down to the school and the chaperones.
This story actually fuels my tension over school trips. I have been on countless field trips with my three children and I can tell you that when the teacher splits up the kids and gives a handful to a parent chaperone, the supervision is unequal at best. While most of the parents do try their best to control their particular group, there will always be that one parent every now and then, who is spacey or just too laid back and whose group often goes wandering more than they should.
Perhaps it happened in a split second while all the children were together and the boy ran out of the view of the teachers and chaperones. School trips, especially with young children can be chaotic. I actually have a friend studying to be a teacher who says the one thing she dreads the most is school trips for this very reason. Honestly up until a certain age, I tried to accompany my children on school trips as much as possible.
But with kids, accidents happen and they can occur in the blink of an eye. Thank goodness, this case has a happy ending and the boy is fine.
Do you go on school trips with your kids out of safety concerns? Have you ever seen a bad chaperone? Have you ever been in charge of a rowdy child as a chaperone yourself?
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