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Family Sues After 4th Grader Suffers Severe Burns At School

The family of Dakhari Smith has filed suit against a teacher and the Grand Rapids-based EDUStaff, which is a provider of staff and services to schools, after an unattended kettle burned the fourth-grader in class.

The Koepsell Elementary School teacher allegedly stepped away from a plug-in kettle of boiling water while the class was making Play-Doh. Another student tripped over the loose cord, spilling steaming hot water over Smith. 

As a result, the young girl suffered from second and third-degree burns on her upper body. Her mother, Danyelle Evans, says Smith—now 11 years old—still has scars from the incident from two years ago.

“When I got to the school, they were bubbling like; I’ve never seen nothing like that,” Evans said. “I’m talking like, bubbling – her arms, her stomach.”

An attorney for the family, John Marko, denied that the incident was an accident but entirely preventable.

“What kind of teacher would put a pot of boiling water next to a young fourth-grader on a table and then have cords hap haphazardly strewn out?” Marko said. “If I did this to my child, to my son, I’d be under investigation by Child Protective Services. This was no accident; this was a total preventable incident.”

Evan explained to Fox 2 Detroit that she immediately called an ambulance when she got to the school, and her daughter was sedated due to her burns.

“It is hard for a mother to see her child go through that. And they had to clear her arms off,” Evans said. “They scraped all that skin off.”

Evans said that her daughter has suffered from emotional and physical scarring since the incident, and no one has ever apologized to her daughter.

“Somebody should be held accountable. If this was me, I would be held accountable,” Evans said. “All this time has went by, and no one has did anything, not even paid for her bills.”

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