Dad Receives Call About His Son Skipping School – Because School Forgets His Son Died On A Field Trip

ProspectHtsHSExtOne would think the school would be able to have this man’s name on top of a “Do Not Call” list or something.  Jonas Pierre received a call last week from the attendence office of Prospect Heights International School to discuss his son’s horrible school attendence record. It’s great that the school is concerned about students who miss a large amount of classes and I think we all know that good attendance is imperative to receiving a good indication. The only problem with this whole scenario is that  Jean Fritz Pierre had a really good excuse for not going to school, he sadly drowned while on a school field trip in June. You would think they would have a note of that SOMEWHERE.

I know schools make mistakes all the time but I feel so bad for this grieving father to receive a call like this. According to the NY Daily News:

Pierre, 39, a retail worker, shared a humble Flatbush walkup with his beloved only son until the teen’s untimely death. “Maybe the school doesn’t think it’s important, but it’s important to me,” he said. “I don’t think I could ever get another son like him.”

The doomed freshman was one of 48 students on a field trip to Rockland County’s Bear Mountain State Park. The trip, intended to be a joyous celebration of the school year’s end, turned tragic when Jean Fritz and a friend left the group to cool down in Hessian Lake, where swimming is banned because of deep pits in the lake’s bottom.

Police ruled the cause of the teen’s death as accidental drowning, but just this month the boy’s parents filed two lawsuits against the city for five million dollars each, because they feel the school was negligent. I do think they are pretty negligent with paying attention to the whereabouts of their students.

Education Department officials said they would make sure Pierre receives no more calls.

“We apologize for any pain or suffering this may have caused the family and are checking all data systems to ensure that the family doesn’t receive these calls anymore,” said agency spokeswoman Erin Hughes.

That poor dad.  I’m sure getting over the loss of his son hasn’t been made any easier by this.


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  • Andrea

    A lot of time those types of calls are robo-calls and they are automatically generated. There was probably a human that neglected to indicate that the student was deceased and it triggered the automatic call.

    While it was a sad turn of events, it was just a mistake. I bet no actual person made the call, it was automatic.

    • Eve Vawter

      According to the news resort, “school officials” made the call.. so idk if it was robots or not :(

    • Emily

      Record-keeping aside, don’t you think that someone working at a school would know the name of a student who died on a field trip? Or died at all? Isn’t that the stuff of vigils and bringing in counselors and such? How does one forget such a thing?

    • G.S.

      Yeah, but at the same time, you’d have thought that they would put it into their system that the student was no longer attending.

    • Andrea

      Maybe. A couple of years ago, I pulled my sons out of school for a week so they could take a trip with their grandparents. I notified the school and the teachers and they all assured me it was taken care of. And yet, I got a letter from the district (the county school system, not the school) that my sons had missed a week of school and that I was at risk of getting a visit from an official regarding their attendance.

      Sometimes in bureaucracies one hand doesn’t talk to the other. I believe it was an honest error and, while unfortunate, we really shouldn’t lambaste the school for it.

    • Roberta

      I can kind of see your point, but I am willing to argue there is a difference between a clerical error about which students are missing school for a week (and are coming back), and a student that has died, the school has known about it for months, and still the father is called.

    • momma425

      Honest mistake or not- I am sure it feels like neglect for THIS family. The school may have made a one time oversight, but no parent appreciates it when their child is forgotten about. This is ESPECIALLY true when a child has died.
      I think given the circumstances of how the child died in this case (it’s not like he died at home, it’s not like he died at the hospital…he died ON A SCHOOL FIELD TRIP), the school should have been extremely aware of him and the family and handled it with more sensitivity. I don’t blame the parents for feeling like the school was neglectful.
      I remember when my son died, a nurce who hasn’t read the big fat alert on my chart came into our hospital room and was all smily and gushy and congratulated us on the baby. My son’s dad shooed the nurse away and told her that our son was born still. I’m sure that nurse didn’t mean to rub salt in the wound, but as a grieving parent, I honestly didn’t give a crap whether she meant to or if it was an accident. It hurt and sucked just the same.

    • Andrea

      Neglectful during the field trip, possibly. Likely, yes.

      But this particular phone cal was unfortunate, but all I am saying is that it is possible that it was triggered automatically.

    • Tinyfaeri

      If a student dies (dies! while on a school field trip!), it should be entered and recorded in every possible place…if for no reason other than that they should be expecting a lawsuit. I really don’t see how this particular mistake could possibly happen.

    • Fabel

      Yeah, seriously. Unforgivable.

    • Kat

      “Jonas Pierre received a call last week from the attendence office of Prospect Heights International School to discuss his son’s horrible school attendence record.”

      I don’t think robo-calls discuss. Just saying.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    Well that’s awkward.

  • Sarah Hollowell

    If it wasn’t a robo-call, then I don’t even see how they can just say, “Oh, the records weren’t up to date.” How do you not remember the name of the kid that drowned ON YOUR SCHOOL’S WATCH?

    • MommyK


  • Kara

    As a grieving mom let me say that you should never ever say that someone can “Get over” the death of their kid. The grieving changes but never stops. Each day gets a tiny bit better until you are able to function again. You certainly do not get over losing your precious child. I just wanted to explain it to you because to us grieving parents that statement really hurts.

    • Kara

      On another note, after my daughter died after we got back to my hospital room I got a call from someone in the hospital congratulating me on my daughters birth and asking about paperwork. I just muttered that she had just died and she promptly hung up. People are idiots.

    • MommyK

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Kara, and what you and your family have been through.

    • Mikster

      I am sorry for the loss of your child,

      I am also a mother who lost a child at age 6. I don’t take offense or get hurt over the swords used *getting over*. It’s a saying- and I certainly, have healed, and *gotten over* it. I have accepted, moved on and had 2 more wonderful children I’d have never had if my oldest had still been alive, due to his special needs. You may speak for yourself, but you cannot speak for all. Some of us can grow to accept that things happen for a purpose and that lessons have been learned, and go on to be very happy and have days without grief.

  • Kimberly

    So sad and heartbreaking. Not surprised though, the schools I worked at all had HORRIBLE record keeping. No excuse, this is sad.

  • My2bits

    I know the point of this article was about the phone call and not the lawsuit. (By the way, keep some better records. Seriously.) But, a teenager wandering off and doing something that is prohibited is not the fault of the school. A few adults can’t have constant eyes on that many students. A teenager should be old enough to be trusted to follow basic instructions like staying with his group. I am not downplaying the tragedy of it because anytime a stupid teenage mistake results in a death it is a total tragedy. I just don’t think the school should be held responsible.

  • Kelby Johnson

    I would be horrified if that happened. I couldn’t imagine how I would respond, although I’m sure it wouldn’t be a very nice response…

  • a_narwhal

    The best part is where they said “we apologize if this caused the family pain or suffering” – as if letting a child die on a school trip didn’t already cause enough pain and suffering – they should have said “sorry for rubbing salt into the hole in your families hearts that we created – we are so ashamed of ourselves. Please, sue us.”