Smyrna parents want answers after daughter sent home from school with broken collarbone

Local News

SMYRNA, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ten-year-old Ariel Burton says she’s still sore after falling hard on the playground at Smyrna Primary School Tuesday afternoon.  

“Sometimes when I get up, it starts hurting,” she said, referring to her shoulder. “Then, it stops. It felt really numb at first, and then it started hurting and getting heavy.”  

The fifth-grader says she was taken to the nurse who asked her a few questions.  

“The nurse, she said ‘Is it broken?’ I said, ‘I don’t know,'” Ariel said. “Then she gave me an ice pack, and I went to class.” 

When she got home from school, her mom and dad took her to the emergency room. They found out she had a broken collarbone.  

“I was frustrated because I wanted answers of what happened,” said Nakeya Johnson, Ariel’s mother.  

Johnson says she never got a phone call or an alert.  

“I tried three times before I actually got a live person which was her teacher,” said the mother.  
“I need answers as to why I wasn’t given that simple phone call.”  

Rutherford County Schools Communications Director James Evans says Ariel was examined using standard procedures and that the nurse couldn’t tell her collarbone was broken. 

“They failed miserably,” Johnson said.  

The school district sent the following statement to News 2 regarding the incident: 

On Tuesday afternoon at approximately 2 p.m., a female fifth-grader fell on the playground and reported to the teacher that her shoulder hurt. She was taken immediately to the nurse who examined her using all standard procedures. It was not evident at the time that the student’s collarbone was broken. The nurse provided her with an ice bag to apply to her shoulder. School dismissed at 2:30 and the student rode the bus home.  

The parents later reported to the school they took the student to the doctor and it was determined her collarbone was broken. The administration at the school has spoken to the mother of the student more than once to check on her condition and apologize that the parents were not contacted. We understand the school was unaware the student’s collarbone was broken but we do expect parents to be notified anytime there is an injury that requires nurse assistance. The principal has addressed it with the nurse. We place a priority on student safety at all our schools.

Johnson says she did get an apology from the teacher, nurse, and vice-principal later on. But the parents say it’s not enough. 

“We’re entrusting you with our most precious gift,” Johnson said. “You have broken that trust.”

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