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Staffers Removed From School After Toddler Falls From Second-Story Window

By Mina Bloom | December 10, 2015 7:44pm
 The toddler avoided serious injury after he landed in dirt from Oscar Mayer School's chicken coop.
The toddler avoided serious injury after he landed in dirt from Oscar Mayer School's chicken coop.
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DNAinfo files

LINCOLN PARK — After a toddler fell out of a second-story window at a Lincoln Park elementary school earlier this week, staff members assigned to the child's classroom are no longer with the school, according to an email to parents obtained by DNAinfo Chicago.

In the Thursday evening email, Oscar Mayer Magnet School Principal Katie Konieczny wrote, "During our ongoing investigation into what happened, the teacher assistants who were assigned to the affected classroom have been removed from the school, and additional precautions have been put in place to keep all students safe. Those include having all windows on both floors closed and relocating the Early Childhood Nap and Spanish classes to the first floor."

The incident happened around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday at the school, 2250 N. Clifton Ave., according to police and school officials.

A passerby spotted a 3-year-old boy on the ground under the window and told workers at the school, according to Officer Bari Lemmon, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman. 

When police arrived, officials discovered an open second-story window and concluded that the child had fallen, Lemmon said.

The boy was taken to Lurie Children's Hospital, where he was listed in good condition, according to a Chicago Fire Department spokesman. Parents said the only reason the boy was uninjured is because he fell into a dirt pile from a nearby chicken coop, which was donated to the school in 2013 as a teaching tool.

Bill Choslovsky, vice chairman of the Oscar Mayer Local School Council, said he was not briefed on what happened leading up to the incident. 

"Should this have happened? Of course not. Will lessons be learned? Of course. It was an accident. Fortunately, it wasn't a tragic accident," he said.

Konieczny did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

A parent, who wished to remain anonymous, told DNAinfo Chicago that Konieczny's "vague" emails on Wednesday caused pandemonium at the school.

In one of them, Konieczny wrote, "Today at Oscar Mayer we had a serious incident that occurred this afternoon. We are working closely with Chicago Public Schools and the internal Mayer team to fully investigate this situation as student safety is of the utmost importance."

When asked if the principal could've communicated more effectively, Choslovsky declined to comment.

"What I can say is I think Oscar Mayer on Monday was the safest place for my kids and it still is today," he said, adding that the principal "was wonderful [before the incident] and is still wonderful."

He said the school's early childhood development program is highly regarded with a "super long" waiting list. 

"If people want to use an accident as a basis for condemning or criticizing the school altogether, it's completely off base," he said.

Choslovsky said he is wondering if Chicago Public Schools has a protocol that doesn't allow principals to share information with the school community right away — a question he plans to ask at the school's upcoming LSC meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

"Given that it turned out apparently fine, I think only at Oscar Mayer could a chicken coop save a child's life," he said.

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