Teacher Receives Suspended Sentence for Manslaughter in Anaphylactic Death of 6-Year-Old Student


Yesterday a correctional court in Villefranche-sur-Saône in eastern France found Ms Danielle Dampfhoffer, a 59-year-old school teacher, guilty of manslaughter in the death of a kindergarten student in her care on March 29, 2018.

On that afternoon, the kindergarten had attended a parade and returned to eat pancakes in celebration of Carnival. Six-year-old Jadhen asked Ms Dampfhoffer if he could have some. According to reports, she responded no, and Jadhen replied that he ate them at home all the time.

What she didn’t know was that the pancakes Jadhen ate at home were prepared with water. The pancakes served at the celebration were made with milk.

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She demurred but eventually allowed him to eat two while the other children “had seven or eight.”

Jadhen had the French equivalent of a 504 accommodation document describing his asthma and serious allergy to milk. The document was a fixture in his classroom.

After eating the pancakes, the boy started coughing and called for his bronchodilator as he had sometimes before, and several puffs were administered to him.

Jadhen’s mother was called to pick him up. His symptoms worsened on the walk home with her from school and he died later that day in the hospital.

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“On reading this PAI [the accommodation document], the one who had custody of the child should have been alerted,” testified the prosecutor.

“I want justice for my son. She knew full well about his allergy”, testified Jadhen’s mother through tears at the proceeding.

“Regrets, I have them every day. I feel so guilty”, testified Ms Dampfhoffer. She insisted she was not sufficiently informed of the dangers to Jadhen. “We did not have a formal meeting around a table to talk about the PAI. The nurse explained it vaguely to me like that”, she noted, referring to a line in the file that indicated the boy “tolerates traces” of milk.

The court was unconvinced and found her guilty of manslaughter, sentencing her to one year in prison, suspended.

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Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom
Dave Bloom is CEO and "Blogger in Chief" of SnackSafely.com.

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