Special Needs Students Accidentally Burned At Keller School

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – Nicholas Chaney’s parents trust he’s taken care of at school just like he is at home.  Nicholas, 18, has cerebral palsy.  “I admire the teachers they do a very good job with them,” says his mother Pauline Chaney.

But now that trust is shaken.  “As I got closer he smelled like burned hair and burned skin,” says Nicholas’ stepfather, Rudy Moreno.

Moreno says on Wednesday his son’s special needs class at Keller High School went outside.  At the time other students were using charcoal grills as part of a cooking class.

dscn0448 Special Needs Students Accidentally Burned At Keller School

Moreno took CBS 11 to the school on Thursday pointing to the black marks on the concrete.  He still doesn’t know what exactly happened, but has pieced together that charcoal from the grills were gathered onto a cookie sheet.  “There was a kettle placed on top of the charcoal the kettle was removed I think the cookie sheet blew all the charcoal over,” explains Moreno.

The grill was about 7 feet away from the special needs group.

It was very windy day, and Moreno says the hot charcoal rained on 3 to 5 special needs students including Nicholas, burning them badly.

In pictures taken by Moreno there are buns on Nicholas’s shirt, his hair singed and his scalped burned.

Moreno rushed Nichols to the hospital.  It was determined he suffered first and second degree burns from the charcoal.

What bothers Nicholas’ parents is that no paramedics were called and they didn’t even find out about what happened until 45 minutes later.

“I don’t understand what they were thinking not calling a paramedic they call the school nurses to take care of these children the school nurses are not doctors,” says Pauline Chaney.

“We just want the truth we just want to know what happened to our son,” says Chaney.

In response Keller ISD released a statement Thursday reading: “Keller ISD is aware of the situation that occurred at Keller High School on Wednesday. Two employees have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”

Two other parents say their children are recovering at home with burns as well.


One Comment

  1. Austin Chaney says:

    We just want to know what had happened.

    1. Kevin says:

      Did you read the article and do you remember the day itself? “It was very windy day….” There was no intent in “injuring” the students, and the only “mistake” was not immediately calling the emergency contacts. And why are we not hearing from the other students’ families? Could it be someone is looking for a lawsuit and quick payday?

    2. Girl says:

      None of us knows what happened… We can all make assumptions but that’s as far as we can go. It was a freak accident. They do this cooking event every year and the special needs class goes and cooks with them every year so no one ever thought this would happen since it never happened before. Freak accident people! Nothing more…

  2. FriscoGuy2034 says:

    First off this article is very badly written, but that is a completely separate issue. My main comment is that an ambulance is for life threatening injuries…NOT a first or second degree burn…and yes a school nurse is more than capable taking care of that.

  3. 2sister says:

    FriscoGuy2034, sometimes people who have special needs can get hurt more severely from things which others might not be hurt from. Some have certain health issues that make them more vulnerable. In any case, the parents should have been notified as soon as possible. They weren’t notified..

  4. Kevin says:

    Will someone explain to me how an act of God, the wind in this case, is the fault of the school? It was a windy day and the special needs class was near the burning coals. They should have been on the other side.

  5. billy says:

    I must be reading about this wrong,,,,,was that a day, the weather forecasters were predicting a red flag day???? meaning lighting a fire outside would be dangerous….but lighting one under ass…could have motivated….. you towards other options???!!!

  6. Austin Chaney says:

    We know wind isn’t the schools fault. But Carelessness is.

  7. Michelle says:

    As a parent of a student involved in this situation, the KHS teachers, administrators, and licensed nurses acted responsibly, immediately, and prudently. If additional medical attention was warranted such as an ambulance, I know one would have been called. I was notified personally by an assistant administrator. I do not expect immediate notification. What I expect is notification after my child, and the others involved, have been treated. This is what KHS did.

    It is human nature that one wants answers; however, there are no answers when it is a “freak” accident. Even the stepfather has a pretty clear understanding as to what might have happened…nothing could have predicted this.

    Let us not get carried away withe the degree of burns. Remember, first degree is redness and second degree is blisters…much like too many hours on the beach…This was not life-threatening. Yes, worrisome to parents, but all children were cared for appropriately.

    I do not feel that any staff member should be placed on administrative leave to appease anyone. KISD, stand behind these terrific people who work so hard and have hearts as big as Texas. Don’t let them down.

  8. FedUpTxn says:

    Due to high winds and a dry spring, there have been burn bans in place. The school should NEVER have allowed this project to take place in high winds! That is simply neglect and stupidity!

  9. John doe says:

    First, the article IS terribly written. But what do you expect? It makes a good story doesn’t it!?
    Second, the teachers of the class were in their conference period, other faculty were in charge of the students. And yes, this event takes place every year and is a great experience, especially for this type of class. Also, yes, some of these students can be affected worse than others by common mishaps. This was not the case. And it was definitely not serious enough for hospital bills. Why the emergency contacts were not notified sooner could be looked at, but mainly why the school had alternate faculty in charge of the students who were not trained of certain procedures needed for the class.

  10. Student says:

    I would like to express my sympathies for all the kids that were burned. This is a horrible thing to happen.
    I am a student at KHS and was myself in the class during which this sad accident occurred, and I wish to emphasize the fact that the incident was purely an accident. There is nothing that could have predicted nor prevented the coals from popping with such force as to fall so far from its originating space. As explained in an above comment, the special needs classrooms make an effort every year to watch us cook during this project. I believe it should be said that all teachers and faculty involved acted admirably in the immediate treatment of the kids.
    I mean no offense to the parents of the children involved, nor to anyone. I do not mean to lessen nor exaggerate the physical or mental strain resulting from this accident. I merely wish to point out that this event was solely an accident. Neither my teacher, nor the teachers of the special needs class, nor the faculty, nor the administration, nor the nurses are to blame. No one is to blame. No staff member should be punished for an unforeseeable accident such as this. My teacher should not be on “administrative leave”. No “internal investigation” or future law suit should be necessary.
    I completely understand the outrage at such an occurrence, and you parents have every right to be angry. However, does it seem fair that, due to the current extensive budget cuts and this event, these two employees could possibly lose their jobs? Or even that this entire class could be cut?
    I do hope that the affected families can learn to forgive for mistakes. All of the children in the special needs class are incredibly friendly and kind. And I hope the families, and KISD, will try to do right by them–not by the need of a scapegoat.

  11. Concerned says:

    I too have a special needs child at KHS. To me, the issues are (1) why wasn’t this exercise postponed to a day with less wind and (2) why were the special needs kids so close? These kids don’t have the same reaction times and abilities to move away from hazards like blowing coals and embers. Looking at Nicholas’ scalp and imagine what would have happened had he been turned the other way! Obviously wind is something that cannot be controlled but when the event was held and the close proximity of the kids could have been.

  12. A KHS parent says:

    According to special education law, every child with disabilities should be afforded the opportunity to participate with their non-handicapped peers to the maximum extent possible. This was one of those events. The students at KHS are so accepting of their disabled peers. Unfortunately no one had a crystal ball to predict this was going to happen. It was an ACCIDENT.

    I pray this event doesn’t undo all the progress that has made made toward a kinder, gentler world at KHS. I remember growing up at a time where all special kids were sent to institutions. I would hate that this unfortunate accident doesn’t start a “hands off the special kids” for fear something might happen again. The teacher in this special needs class is totally awesome, one who puts her students needs above all else. Their safety is always her top concern. This was a very sad incident, but it was an ACCIDENT. Don’t punish the teachers-that’s just not fair.

    I did notice the reporter didn’t bother to ask if Nick’s hair was trimmed to get to the spot on his head. For a burn, I really had to look hard and couldn’t see any redness on his scalp. I think CBS 11 should be embarrassed for reporting on this story and sensationalizing it the way they have. Buit maybe they are low on their ratings and had to dig up “dirt” to get people to watch their news. Shame on you CBS!

  13. A KHS Parent says:

    Nothing like dragging in the news to get sympathy if you are planning a law suit. I think Nick’s parents should read the comments and see the hornets nest they have stirred up. Teachers in KISD are stressed enough right now over jobs being lost and budget cuts out the kazoo. They didn’t need this added to it.

    Let’s rally behind these teachers, KHS, and let the KISD administration know punishing the teachers is just wrong.

  14. Neighbor of Victim says:

    As a neighbor of one of the burn victims, we were told the charcoal burned a hole through his wheelchair and caused a THIRD!!! degree burn on his back that will now require skin grafts. He has been on pain meds and running a fever since the incidence. I hardly consider that “minor”! Negligence 1 was allowing such an unsafe practice on such a windy day. Negligence 2 was NOT contacting paramedics immediately especially considering none of the affected children could even speak for themselves to describe the extent of their pain!

    1. RANDI says:

      I have a special needs child as well and he cannot say what happened or how he was hurt, it is sad that the parents had to figure it out and then ask questions instead of having all the information ahead of time. These kids can feel pain just like others many cannot say what is going on. SAD. Poor planning and hugs to the parent and child

  15. A KHS PARENT says:

    The key word in your paragraph is told. Did you see it in person for yourself?

  16. Concerned says:

    KHS Parent–clearly you don’t have a disabled child. If you did, perhaps you wouldn’t be so quick to blow it off. Yes it was an accident but it was negligent for the disabled students to be so close. CBS 11 showed the boy with 3rd degree burns the second night. I SAW it. These kids need a higher level of care–they cannot wheel away from hazards — they should have at least been down wind. What about the smoke blowing in their faces? Again, they can’t, in many cases, wheel away. I agree that that KHS has a kinder environment but that doesn’t mean that these kids don’t still need some extra attention.

  17. Sad says:

    Its bad enough that all of the teachers involved are heartbroken about what has happened; there was no need to drag this into the news. If trust was “shaken” the right thing to do would be to keep your child at home while there is still an ongoing issue. These teachers are having their whole world turned upside down. They are being forced to tiptoe around and live in fear of lawsuits by money hungry people. My heart goes out to the children involved and I hope that everyone is recovering from this awful event. But Austin, the next time you decide to wander into the special needs class think about all that the teachers have done for you, your brother, and the other students. They have provided you with a family environment and done nothing but care for you. They deserve to be shown the same kindness and love that they have never failed to show to others.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Drip Pan: CBS Local App
Drip Pan: Weather App

Watch & Listen LIVE