Michael Flack appeared before the Solehi school board Monday evening with his wife, Kelly, and daughter, Adessa, to ask the board to investigate the high school’s response to his daughter’s injuries which occurred within the school.
Adessa Flack received three head injuries while in Southern Lehigh High School. One incident occurred in November 2008, while the other two occurred in March and May of this year. Adessa did not receive these injuries on a sports field, but rather within the hallways and cafeteria of the school. According to Michael Flack, rough horseplay within the school is to blame.
“Our daughter has received three brain injuries in the form of concussions,” Flack explained to the board. “She has missed 40 full days of school [as a result], and stumbles daily to keep up with her work.”
Flack felt the high school administration is complacent for allowing an unsafe environment and minimizing the consequences of horseplay. He asked the district to “adopt a zero tolerance policy for physical contact resulting in injury.” Flack continued, “These actions are not accepted in society and should not be permitted or minimized in Southern Lehigh School District.”
Flack said in an interview that he was unhappy with the way the high school, specifically principal Christine Siegfried, handled the situation. “We were told by [Siegfried] that maybe Adessa should wear a helmet in school,” Flack said.
Flack claimed to have met with school officials several times and they "minimized" his concerns. Flack said he even arranged for a neurological expert from Good Shepherd, a rehabilitation hospital, to speak to the students and staff about the dangers of horseplay and the seriousness of concussions. “The principal said that was not necessary,” Flack said. “She didn’t take our offer.”
Flack went as far as to imply that the school condones reckless horseplay, citing an issue of the school newspaper that laid out ways to play a shoving game that resulted in one of Adessa’s concussions. “A description of the game was published in the school paper,” Flack said to the school board. “It said how to use the hand rails, how to avoid touching the floor. This was published and distributed in the school newspaper.” Flack said he had asked for a copy of the paper on two separate occasions, but had not been provided with one.
The school board claimed ignorance of the situation, but said it would investigate Flack’s claims. “This is not a matter we have public knowledge of,” said school board president Michael Eddinger. “But we obviously will follow up on this.”
Flack left the board meeting “hopeful [the school board] is going to look into it.”
At the time of this writing, school administrators could not be reached for comment.