A Child’s Tears
There’s nothing worse for a parent than having their child come home from school in tears. However, when one mother realized that her son’s tears were due to what happened at the school dentist, she was more than irritated.
It was then she decided to look inside her son’s mouth…you won’t believe what she saw!
A Great Student
Shanda Flemming and her son Michael (9) lived in Baltimore, Maryland where he attended the third grade at Beechfield Elementary School. While all seemed well academically, in January 2017 everything would change when Shanda signed a permission slip to have her son’s teeth cleaned at the local dentist.
Let’s just say…things didn’t go according to plan.
The In-School Dental Program
According to the Baltimore Public School district, they have been running in-school dental programs since 2007. The program has gained popularity due to the death of a young boy who had died of a tooth infection; therefore, the school districts had begun to offer dental services free of charge.
The Case of Deamonte Driver
The student who had died was 12-year-old Deamonte Driver. He died from a simple tooth infection, that according to the Washington Post could of been avoided if the tooth had been removed via an $80 procedure. Unfortunately, his mother had no insurance and the operation was too expensive.
Sweeping Dental Reform
After Deamonte’s death, the state of Maryland began to reform how it handled dental care for children. The changes were so extreme, the Children’s Dental Campaign gave the state high praise. The hope was that with in-school intervention, deaths like Deamonte’s could be avoided.
Unfortunately for Shanda’s son Michael, these changes were about to impact him in a big way.
An Innocent Cleaning
At first, Shanda was thankful that the school provided free cleanings for the students and had no problem sending Michael off to school for a check up. However, when he returned from school crying and she looked in his mouth…she was shocked to find three teeth were missing.
A Mother’s Rage
Michael was embarrassed that he now had three significant gaps in his smile. Shanda was enraged that no one from the school had called to inform her of such a serious procedure. The permission slip had not mentioned the possibility of teeth being pulled, something she believed should have been authorized by her.
Unable to contain her anger, Shanda turned to the local news.
Turning to the Media
When speaking about the ordeal to the local news, Shanda revealed that she believes the school handled the situation completely wrong. She stated that she wouldn’t have even known about the procedure unless her son hadn’t come to her with a swollen mouth.
Of course, for Michael, the situation was even more traumatizing.
Too Many Lies
Michael revealed that the dentist had stated they were only going to clean his teeth. He had no idea they were going to end up pulling three of his teeth. According to his mother, he was deeply troubled by the event and can’t stop crying.
However, the bad day didn’t stop there.
Missing the Bus
Due to the procedure Michael had to endure, he ended up missing the bus home. This meant he had to walk nearly a mile from school back to his house in extreme pain.
Let’s just say his mother wasn’t too pleased.
Insult to Injury
Realizing her son had walked home alone only added to Shanda’s rage. Believing that the school put Michael in harm’s way by having him make his own way home, she didn’t understand why they didn’t keep her informed.
However, this would be just the beginning of unanswered questions.
Too Many Questions
CBS Baltimore conducted several interviews for this story and realized there were too many questions and not enough answers. Why did the school remove Michael’s teeth without his mother’s permission? Why didn’t they have someone escort the boy home? And even more confounding, after having THREE teeth pulled why didn’t the school send any pain medication?
So, what did the school district have to say for themselves?
Reaching Out to the School
Unfortunately, the school and the district refused to comment on the situation. According to those close to the situation, they were concerned about breaching privacy and health insurance laws. Although, most would agree the mother deserved an explanation.
Signed, Sealed and Delivered
According to the school district, Shanda signed and returned the permission slip for dental work. However, Shanda maintains her story that she believed she was only agreeing to a routine teeth cleaning. In fact, Michael had a dental appointment scheduled with the family dentist for later that month.
Slow to Heal
While Michael’s mouth has started to recover, the terror of thinking he was having a cleaning only to have three teeth pulled remains. Hopefully, he won’t be terrified of all dentists moving forward.