Aides tell detectives about lack of training - FOX 13 News

Aides tell detectives about lack of training

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The Hillsborough School District continues to investigate what teacher's aides and administrators did or didn't do just prior to Jenny Caballero disappearing from gym class.

The 11-year-old girl wandered away from the class, and drowned in a nearby retention pond.

Meanwhile, interviews the aides did with Hillsborough County Sheriff's detectives provide more insight.

A detective asked one aide, "Do all teachers go through some training every year?"

The aide answers "There are trainings you can sign up for."

He pressed on, "Well, does anybody refresh people's memories about school policies?"

The aide answers back, "Well we go through, uh, not exactly training but certain little policies."

In another interview with a different aide, the detective asks about the procedure for when a child goes missing.

"Is there something when a child, a student goes missing?"

The aide responds, "They have a thing called a ‘all call.' "

"What does that entail?" the detective asks.

"Um, I think that's when they call administration and ...I don't know. I, I don't know," the aide says.

"So you're not really sure what that procedure is?" the detective asks.

"Yeah, I..no," the aide answers.

Mark Kamleiter is not surprised by the aide's remarks. He is a St. Petersburg attorney for special needs education. He says educators don't spend enough time on matching an aide to a student.

"I don't think there's real effort to say, who would fit best with this child. Who has the personality and the intellect to do the things we need to do?" Kamleiter said.

The PE coach told detectives Jenny had run away before, three to four times.

According to the report issued by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the coach said each time, he ran after Jenny.

The coach also complained that the aides were inattentive. He said they'd sit in the bleachers, not watching the kids, while he worked with all 24 special needs students.

At least one assistant principal knew about the issue with the aides. Kamleiter said the administration should have dealt with it.

"There should have been supervision that required they pay attention. And they needed training too, how to work with this child. And if [Jenny Caballero] was a runner, she needed to have someone in proximity to her, that was going to prevent the run," Kamleiter said.

Kamleiter has represented special needs kids and their families for years. Before that, he was a special needs teacher. He says the lack of training is a state-wide problem.

He blames legislators for not providing enough money for education, but he says other school districts make it work and says Hillsborough could too.

Kamleiter has a message to parents of Hillsborough County special needs students.

"I think the parents have to rise up and force the school district to take responsibility for these areas where they're lacking, and the school district needs to provide more support," he said.

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