JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The parents of an 8-year-old girl are upset after they say their daughter was forced to unplug a backed-up toilet with her hand at school.
The parents said their daughter was with another student last Friday morning when they discovered that the toilet at Dinsmore Elementary School on the Northside was backed up. They said the students told a substitute teacher, and the teacher told them to unclog the toilet.
The girl's parents are now worried for their daughter's health.
"She proceeded to wrap her hand in toilet paper, dig down inside the commode, remove the contents and place them in a trash can," Millicent Jones, the girl's mother, said.
"Anyone would know that you do not send a child into a bathroom to clean feces of someone else's feces when there's proper staffing to do that," Anthony Jones, the girl's father, said.
Millicent Jones said she immediately contacted Duval County Public Schools for answers. She said she was referred to Kelly Services, the organization in charge of providing substitute teachers.
Jones said she wanted to get the full story, meaning she wanted to hear from the substitute teacher. Instead, she said she was given the runaround.
"They explained to me that they couldn't release that information to me," she said. "But they did tell me that the only information they could give me was that appropriate action has been taken."
The Joneses said although this was an unpleasant experience, they in now way blame the school. They said the school jumped on the issue right away and handled it very professionally.
The family said their daughter now has to have blood work to make sure she hasn't been infected. For them, their daughter was only doing what she was told, and a sacred trust has been violated.
"It didn't matter to her that she was doing something wrong," Anthony Jones said. "She just -- this is somebody I trust to tell me to do something right and knowing that it's safe, that whatever she's telling me is safe."
The school district said it's not in a position to discipline the substitute teacher because technically she is not employed by the district. Officials have said they do not want this person back in the classroom.
Kelly Services said it's reviewing the situation.
"We are always concerned when there are allegations reported of inappropriate direction by one of our employees," a spokeswoman said in a statement. "We are looking into the situation fully and have no further comment to provide you."