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Injured McKinley student progressing as questions remain

Keon Blake went back into surgery Tuesday, the latest in what his mother says will be a series of operations to repair broken facial bones and two broken femurs suffered when the 17-year-old senior plunged from a third-floor balcony above the atrium of McKinley Technology High School Friday evening.

He is breathing without a ventilator, Janice Blake said, and improving a bit each day. But she said she is not satisfied with the cursory explanation officials have provided so far.

"There are still questions that have not been answered," said Janice Blake. "From what I saw, there is more to it."

Keon Blake was attending a homecoming celebration when police said he became uncontrollable, ran to the balcony and jumped.

The available surveillance tape shows no evidence that he was pushed. But she said she doesn't understand why school officials chaperoning the event allowed him to go to another part of the building without shoes or the glasses he wears for nearsightedness.

"My son was at the school for an activity that was hosted by the school in a location that was on the opposite end of where he was located," she said. "These are issues I'm not understanding."

D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5) told Fox 5 news that after viewing the surveillance tape, the school seems to have acted responsibly.

"I have seen that most measures were in place," Thomas said. "That's what I want ensure, that the safety measures were there to protect that child."

Janice Blake said that while Keon has trouble focusing on his work "like any other child" her son had no issues with drugs or violence. On Friday, the day of the homecoming celebration, nothing seemed amiss.

"He was very much controlled, very much a good student a good child.... I entrusted my child to the school but when I received him back he was not who I knew."

DCPS spokeswoman Safiya Simmons said Wednesday afternoon that the school system had no comment.

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By Bill Turque  | October 20, 2010; 2:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

someone may have slipped him a mickey (aka, dipper) It happens. When you are not with your child 24/7 you can not say what said child will or will not do.

Posted by: msdooby1 | October 20, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

okay...r people seriously retarded or what. i understand these are opinions but msdooby1 did u actually realize what u said. what WORKING parent is able to be with their kid 24/7. i starting to be convinced that mentally challenged people comment on these so im gonna stop while i ahead

Posted by: jessika2o2 | October 20, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with msdooby1.

A mother knows her child when the child is with her. When the child is surrounded by their peers - they are likely to do and try anything. No shoes or eyeglasses??? He had to be under the influence of something. You cannot possibly rule that out. My prayers are with the family and hope he recovers soon.

Posted by: ASH0927 | October 20, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

My money's on him having taken something - wittingly or not. (I say this as a parent.) I wonder if they did toxicity screening tests on him at the hospital...

Posted by: nan_lynn | October 20, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

So why is it thatnobody is responsible for their own actions? Why and in what way is this a school problem? This kid was old enough to make rational decisions and obviously he did not! Teach your kids how to behave, teach them consequences, and don't let them blame others for their own mistakes. This is stupid!

Posted by: majiksea | October 20, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The theme of the day is teach the kid,s their are consaquences for evrything in life and relly try monitoring who they hang out with.Some kid,s don,t get the same parenting as others do,so make sure you drive the point home to them,and in a city like D.C.this should always become a must when kid leave to go out in the city,there is just to many bad things that can happen in the streets.I saw both parents on the news this week and it seemed if the blame game had already started.Teachers can not be held at fault if a kid want to leave one part of the school and wonder off to another part,the dance was at different location on campus than where the accident took place.The kid may have snicked out of the dance to do mischief on campus,some kid,s create so much drama when their parents are not around.But I do not feel the adults at the dance can be held responsible for what one student wanted to do.You really have to look at the overall history of D.C.students and the history tells the story of out of control young people,committing everything from robberies to murder.My heart goes out to the student and his parents,but his judgement should have been much better.I am so glad that this incident will have a happy ending ,thekid could have died and the family would be in mourning.I really cannot see how anyone can rise a child in D.C. and educate them in this enviroment.But I guess if this all you know, then the results will always be the same...Sadness....The Concerned Citizen

Posted by: galaxy1070 | October 20, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes adults can be so self-righteous. It's like we were never seventeen and made a bad decision. A young life was spared here--and that is what I celebrate. I cannot even begin to imagine what the parents are enduring. Second-guessing is only naturally in a calamity like this. Perhaps we should just resolve to lace our prayers for this young man with a vow to hug the ones we love more often and leap to judgment a lot less. I invite your readers to visit my blog at teachermandc.com and take a walk on the real side.

Posted by: dcproud1 | October 20, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like PCP.

Posted by: MKadyman | October 20, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

"But she said she doesn't understand why school officials chaperoning the event allowed him to go to another part of the building without shoes or the glasses he wears for nearsightedness."

I understand the Mom is probably devastated right now. But I still don't think that's an excuse for making dumb statements like this. School officials are not responsible for making sure students are wearing shoes or their prescription glasses during special events. Come on! There are usually hundreds of students at these events. School officials are responsible for making sure that everyone within eyesight is behaving appropriately - ie, not drinking alcohol, carrying weapons, smoking pot, or smuggling drugs. They are NOT responsible for making sure your son takes responsibility for himself - ie, wearing shoes and wearing his prescription eyeglasses. They aren't your son's parents! Your son's inability to do these things is YOUR fault. You clearly did not help him learn how to behave as a mature adult. Again, I understand that this is a traumatic incident, but it's not fair to blame the school officials for something that your son (and his parents) are entirely culpable for.

Posted by: Sambo1 | October 20, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

17 is still a minor dumbass @ sambo1

Posted by: jessika2o2 | October 20, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I believe the mother is entitled to some answers and hopefully the truth as to what happened. These kids are underage and there is a certain amount of responsibility to keep them safe and out of harms way. Ultimately the school is not responsible for what happened to the child, but, with that said, most any parent/chaperone is going to at least try to keep them safe. As a chaperone of children, and they are still children, that is their position, whether they are hired or volunteer. Isn't the school a sort of surrogate parent? Most kids spend more time with the teachers and school officials then they do with a parent. I am NOT saying parents are not being responsible. Working parents, dual incomes are a fact of life. So is school. As adults and parents, we should keep the kids safe.

Posted by: joannros | October 20, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

jessi... I quess you missed the whole point. Are you on the dipper too?

Posted by: msdooby1 | October 20, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Jesse. BTW I have two bs degrees and a masters. Can you say the same? Based on your post I'm willing to bet that you don't. Now poof be gone

Posted by: msdooby1 | October 20, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I guess somebody has to be blamed for having a less than perfect child.

Posted by: cynical1 | October 21, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

A situation where a massive school like McKinley can't in no possible way have school personnel monitor all of the nooks and crannies of such a huge building. Case in point, wasn't the school homecoming dance going on, when this incident happen. So, when the personnel all had to be in that vicinity, it left other areas WIDE open. There's no need to have a building that did hold 2000 now only houses 900 at the max, the lapses in security can and unfortunately did happen .

It is of the crazy mind-set that less students facilitates less security detail, which is absolutely ludicrous. The square footage has not changed in McKinley, therefore security and personnel are needed.

Let's be real, there is about 900 (hypothetically) exits and entrances to every area within McKinley. So, there's no need for blame, someone needs to provide better funding and foresight on logistics.

Also, be mindful every high-school that is under construction...has the eye-catching "atrium" being implemented. Hence an ounce of prevention can create a pound of cure. Please note OPFEM.

Posted by: PowerandPride | October 21, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I can't recall that I've ever been inside McKinley, but aren't there at least fire doors that divide wings of the building? In my high school in Ohio, sections of the building that were not in use for evening activities could be locked down, so that no one attending evening activities could enter those areas of the building. With all the renovations we've done on D.C. schools (especially the millions poured into McKinley), didn't anyone think about being able to do this without interfering with the ability to empty the building in an emergency?

Posted by: Kathy8 | October 21, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Hope the student will be ok. I can't help but wonder if he was bullied teased or called gay, and if the family or school would ever admit so if that were the case..

Posted by: 10bestfan | October 21, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I graduated from McKinley. It is a HUGE school. He could have easily slipped away from the main area where the dance was being held -- undetected by the administration if there were a lot of kids at the dance.

But, at this point, the most important fact is that Keon is still alive and improving day-by-day. Everything else can be dealt with later.

Posted by: gitouttahere | October 21, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

OK, Everyone enough is enough. The student's mother is scared and befuddled as to how this could have happened to her child. If he was 40 years old, I believe her response or reaction would be the same. I don't think she is blaming the school at all. It seems she just wants to know could this have been prevented.

If this happened to our children, for those who have kids, I believe we would be just as upset.

My son is the love of my life. I cannot survive if something happens to him and I am his father.

Let's pray and pray hard for this young man to recooperate completely.

Posted by: Kevin_J_Jenkins | October 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

OK, Everyone enough is enough. The student's mother is scared and befuddled as to how this could have happened to her child. If he was 40 years old, I believe her response or reaction would be the same. I don't think she is blaming the school at all. It seems she just wants to know could this have been prevented.

If this happened to our children, for those who have kids, I believe we would be just as upset.

My son is the love of my life. I cannot survive if something happens to him and I am his father.

Let's pray and pray hard for this young man to recooperate completely.

Posted by: Kevin_J_Jenkins | October 21, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

OK, Everyone enough is enough. The student's mother is scared and befuddled as to how this could have happened to her child. If he was 40 years old, I believe her response or reaction would be the same. I don't think she is blaming the school at all. It seems she just wants to know how could this have been prevented.

If this happened to our children, for those who have kids, I believe we would be just as upset.

My son is the love of my life. I cannot survive if something happens to him and I am his father.

Let's pray and pray hard for this young man to recooperate completely.

Posted by: Kevin_J_Jenkins | October 21, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I was in the renovated McKinley a few years back. at that time 1/3rd of the building was not being used. so if that is still the case that provides a level of perspective. I am a parent so I understand her concerns, but she sounded more like "I'm suing" versus finding out what was up with her kid. Frankly it sounds like her son was tripping off something. jumping off a balcony is beyond being excited and fired-up for a homecoming event or game. Even smart and responsible kids can get high/drunk or smoke a joint now and then. And I can look in the mirror and say that. fortunately, I never got a hold to something that I could not handle or at least not to that extent.

Posted by: oknow1 | October 21, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey Galaxy1070, are you encinuating that DC is the only area where this sort of stuff goes on? You can't be real! This stuff happens with kids, all over the place...especially in the suburbs. It just isn't spotlighted like in the "inner city." I mean, jesh.

Posted by: rjbobby | October 21, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Wow. @jessika2o2. Write real words, complete sentences, and verbs in the correct tense and then maybe your comments about anything will be taken a little more seriously. Have there been toxicology tests performed (on the kid, not the commenter - I don't think one's necessary there)?

Posted by: blueangel1180 | October 21, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@oknow1, you're absolutely correct as well as KJJ enough is enough. The prayers for the students should not just be implemented when tragedy arrives, it must serve as a daily activity as each day is unpredictable.

As we all remember our high-school experiences of homecoming, proms and graduation, each comes with "concerns" that we can't never ignore. The homecoming season for high-schools is just beginning, let's hope that nothing else happens to this magnitude. If you care, then chaperone.

Posted by: PowerandPride | October 22, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

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