Flu concerns spark outrage after elementary students share music instruments

Flu concerns spark outrage after elementary students share music instruments

LUGOFF, SC (WIS) - As the number of flu cases continues to rise, parents in the Palmetto State are working to keep their children safe and healthy and in the classroom.

Stephanie Watts' daughter attends Wateree Elementary School in the Kershaw County School District. She told WIS she became outraged after picking her daughter up from school Wednesday.

"I was beyond furious," Watts said. "I honestly couldn't believe it. I asked her several times and I didn't believe what she was telling me."

Fourth-grader Carrie Watts said when she walked into music class on Wednesday, the teacher told the class they would be playing recorders.

"She called our color groups up and we got them and when we walked in they were just sitting in a bucket of water and she said it was cold water," Watts said. "She said she had sanitized them with instrument cleaner."

Carrie said while she knew the potential for germs, she and her classmates followed the teacher's instructions.

"A lot of people in my class thought it was disgusting and they didn't want to play theirs but they didn't want to tell the teacher no," she said.

Stephanie Watts said she is unhappy with the way the district handled the situation.

"I know there are germs everywhere I get that," she said. "But we're not walking about putting our mouths on things other people have touched. When you're sending them to school you're thinking they have their best interest and then this happens."

Doctors say this year's flu season is more severe than in year's past and it may not be over just yet.

"It sounds like we're in the midst of the flu season probably not to the tail end of it," Dr. Melanie Blackborn said. "Some seasons have a couple of peaks so it's hard to predict."

Mary Anne Byrd, Director of Communications for the Kershaw County School District, said the music teacher followed proper protocol in sanitizing the instruments.

"She was in contact with the school nurse and was very mindful of doing what exactly the protocol calls for," Byrd said. "But as soon as parents raised concerns with the principal, the principal  said okay parents, this is not something you want us to do so we shut the program down and we're not doing it anymore."

Watts said in the future, she wants the district to be more forthcoming with parents about these kinds of incidents. The district said it is being proactive this flu season in its attempt to keep kids healthy.

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.