Injured child prompts Pascagoula mom to push for security cameras
These photos from the Justice for AvaLynn Facebook page show the little girl before and after the injuries she suffered on the playground at Arlington Elementary School. (Photo source: Facebook)
Meagan Williams wants cameras at Pascagoula school campuses. (Photo source: WLOX)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -
A week after a kindergartner was injured at Arlington Heights Elementary School, the Pascagoula School District released another statement Tuesday.
It stated, "The Pascagoula School District has conducted additional investigation which confirmed that a student was involved in a playground accident. The child fell on playground equipment and no other students were involved in the injury. Four adults were present at the time. This matter has been turned over to our insurance company for further handling. The Pascagoula School District is committed to maintaining a safe environment for all of our students."
Meagan Williams was among the thousands of people who saw the disturbing pictures of AvaLynn Harris on Facebook. The little girl's injuries were shocking.
"It broke my heart. I started crying. It was horrible," she said.
Williams felt a wave of emotions the moment she saw the images of the bruised and swollen face of five-year-old AvaLynn. Williams also has a five-year-old daughter who attends another Pascagoula school, Cherokee Elementary.
"This can't happen in our schools. This happened just a few blocks from where my daughter goes to school. Obviously, supervision is not enough anymore," said Williams.
So Williams drafted a petition through Change.org, urging school leaders to install security cameras on every campus in the district. She believes cameras can give parents some reassurance about their children's safety. (Click here to read the online petition.)
"Teachers and the supervisors of these children playing at recess, they have to be more aware there are cameras watching them, too. It may prevent something from happening, but once something does happen, we'll have it on camera and we'll know exactly what it is," said Williams.
"We would at least have justice for anybody that physically harms someone else. And if it was an accident, we would know it was an accident. We would know if she just fell off the slide, and we would know if she was kicked in the face. But we don't know that, because we don't have cameras," she added.
WLOX reached out to the superintendent of the Pascagoula School District, who declined an interview. A spokeswoman for the district told us there are security cameras at all of the schools, but not on the playgrounds at the elementary level.
"It just doesn't make sense that here in Pascagoula, there are no cameras outside in the recess area. That's the place where they would be most likely to get hurt, most likely to get into fights," said Williams.
Williams initially started with a goal of 500 signatures. Within 24 hours, she surpassed that goal. She now hopes to get at least 5,000 signatures of support and present the petition to the school district Monday.
"This is something that, not just me, but a lot of moms here in the Pascagoula School District will fight for. We will fight for this, because we feel our children should be protected while they're in school," said Williams.
At last check Tuesday night, the petition had more than 1,000 signatures. Williams said if funding becomes an issue with the district, she would be willing to organize fundraisers and seek donations to get at least one camera per playground.
Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online.More >
Disturbing pictures of an injured kindergartner from Pascagoula have made a mother's call for action go viral online. Friends and family of a Pascagoula kindergarten student have created a Facebook page and GoFundMe.com account claiming the girl was attacked on the playground this week by another student.More >