The Turlock Unified School District and the Turlock Police Department released a statement Wednesday concluding that an incident at an elementary school that left a pencil dangling from the neck of a 6-year-old boy was an accident.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor released a statement through the Police Department about the Feb. 27 incident after district officials said earlier this month that they could not comment because it would violate the students’ confidentiality.
Trainor said in the statement that two Crowell Elementary School first-graders were pretending to sword fight with mechanical pencils when one of them stumbled and accidentally poked the other in the neck.
Trainor said a licensed vocational nurse at the school determined the pencil “pinched” the boy’s skin.
“This was clearly an accident and not a malicious act. The child was not ‘stabbed’ as has been mistakenly reported in the media, but was inadvertently and unintentionally poked,” he said.
When the story was reported last week, Turlock police stated the incident was being investigated as a stabbing with a pencil by one student on another.
The boy’s father, Ruben Aguilar, said regardless of whether the incident was an accident, he was displeased with the way school officials reacted.
“Every kid is going to say a different story, they are kids, but it’s the way the school handled it and the way they came at us about my son’s welfare like they didn’t care,” he said.
Aguilar said his father had to pick up the boy at school because he was in Ceres at the dentist when the school called him. He said his son was sitting in the office with the pencil dangling from his neck when his father arrived. Aguilar thinks an ambulance should have been called.
The nurse, Trainor said, determined the boy’s vitals were normal, there was no bleeding, and the child did not appear to be in pain.
“The nurse and health technician followed standard first aid care and reporting procedures,” he said. “The district acted appropriately and professionally to provide immediate care for the injured student.”
Trainor said the boy’s grandfather asked for a piece of tape and adhered the pencil to the child’s neck before taking him to the hospital.
About 10 or 15 minutes passed from the time of the incident to the time the child left with his grandfather, Trainor said.
Aguilar wonders why, if the incident was as minor as the school claims, his son was transferred to a children’s hospital in Madera for further examination of the puncture wound, which he said created an “air bubble” under the skin.
He said his son has been transferred out of Crowell Elementary and he likely will pursue moving him out of the district altogether.
“(The district) is still not holding themselves accountable,” Aguilar said.