ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – FOX 2’s investigative reporter Chris Hayes went to the Kennedy Recreation Center on Monday to get answers about child safety after a child drowned at a summer camp.
If the drowning had occurred at a daycare or school, teachers would be required to answer basic safety protocol questions. However, the drowning incident occurred at an unregulated summer camp.
“Could you send out who’s in charge?” said Hayes, who asked the person greeting him inside. “I am,” said a woman who does not want to be identified, “but I’m not allowed to talk about it.”
FOX 2 has been pressing for answers since the July 20 drowning of 6-year-old T.J. Mister. He died on his third day of summer camp at the Kennedy Recreation Center in south St. Louis County.
A St. Louis County spokesperson cited a lawsuit as the reason they cannot answer questions.
The woman in charge of the complex, at Kennedy Rec, would not answer.
“You can’t tell me who certifies the lifeguards? Nothing?” said Hayes.
The woman, claiming to be the head of the complex said, “I’m not allowed to say anything.”
“What if a parent asked you?” Hayes followed up.
“I can only refer you to my supervisor,” she said.
“You’d tell a parent that you’d refer them to a supervisor?” said Hayes.
“Yeah,” she answered.
“What’s your name,” Hayes asked.
“I’ll give you the person to contact,” the woman said.
“What’s your name? You’re in charge…” Hayes said as she walked away.
The woman returned with a slip of paper that stated “All, please keep this contact information handy to provide to anyone that has questions about the pool incident. This could be media/press, attorneys, and citizens.”
The phone number was not to a supervisor, but to the St. Louis County Communications officer, who has not responded to FOX 2 earlier requests for information.
“Appalling, absolutely appalling,” said Lisa Coulter, director of Apple of Your Eye Learning Center.
Coulter’s center operated summer camps under her childcare license than other summer camps, which Coulter called ‘pop-up summer camps’ that are exempt from regulation. She said she could not dodge parents’ questions if she wanted to.
“As a state licensed facility, we pride ourselves on letting the parents know everything,” said Coulter. “We’re very transparent. They can come in at any time to tour. They don’t need to set up times, anything. They can come in. They can ask anything, and I’ve never put anyone off for a question.”
Even though St. Louis County refused to answer questions, it did provide a video of the incident, which FOX 2 reported on.