Exclusive: Van Winkle Elementary student left outside classroom, JPS investigating


JACKSON, Miss.(WJTV) – A woman who’s daughter attended Van Winkle Elementary School says her daughter was left outside her classroom, with no supervision.

When a student is a dropped off at school, parents want to know their child is in good hands. But on August 21, around 1:44pm, when Joslynn Luster tried to pick her daughter up she was nowhere to be found.

“We walked down the hall and we got the principal, and when we came back out to her classroom that’s when they also told the principal that they didn’t know where my child was.”

Joslynn immediately switched to panic mode.

She and other staff members began frantically looking for 5-year-old Christiana. It took them about 10 minutes.

When they did find her, Joslynn said she was asleep on the ground outside – sweating in nearly 100 degree weather – no moving – and reeked of vomit.

“To see my child laying like that, I really thought she could have been dead. The lady [teacher] was calling her name, but she never did respond or get up. I gave my 1-year-old to one of the staff, and I kind of shook her about 3 or 4 times, and finally she woke up.”

12 News’ Lanaya Lewis asked Christiana why she was outside. She told her, “my teacher sent me there after doing dots.” She then asked her how long did it feel like she was outside. She replied, “20 hours.”

Joslyn said she called A-M-R to get Christiana checked out.

Her vitals were fine, but first responders said she was a bit dehydrated.

“Anything could have happened. Who to say you know a pedophile wasn’t nearby or you know it wasn’t a snake outside. You know… just all kind of questions go through your mind.”

Jackson Public Schools released a statement about the incident, saying they’re investigating:

JPS is aware and is investigating a report of the incident. The District has been in contact with the parent and will take the appropriate actions once the investigation is completed.
It is never our intent for any child to be left unattended under any circumstances. We are totally committed to providing a safe, positive and nurturing learning environment.

– Sherwin Johnson
Executive Director of Public Engagement, Jackson Public School District

Since the incident, Joslynn has withdrawn Christiana from Van Winkle Elementary. She said she’s still waiting for disciplinary action against the teachers who were supposed to watch over Christiana.

She added the assistant superintendent has reached out to her, but she has not heard anything back in reference to the investigation.

Joslynn is warning other parents to check on their children throughout the school year.

“Just make time, and go visit the school and check on your child… because you never know what could be going on. You really don’t. You send them to school and you think they okay, but sometimes they might not be…”

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