Mother of child who choked on marshmallow does not want to ban the snacks at schools

March 19, 2010 at 8 p.m.
Updated March 18, 2010 at 10:19 p.m.

The mother of a 9-year-old boy who died after choking on a marshmallow at school does not advocate eliminating the snack from schools.

On Friday, Justice of the peace Stuart Posey ruled Schorlemmer Elementary School student Pedro Vicente Hernandes died Feb. 26 from asphyxia by choking because of a marshmallow.

The incident occurred while the fourth-grader was assembling ingredients to prepare s'mores as part of a fourth-grade writing activity that included a camping theme.

The boy collapsed shortly after leaving the classroom for a drink of water, following complaints of not feeling well.

"It doesn't bring him back or make me feel any better," Elizabeth Kuykendall, Vicente's mother, said of the ruling. "It confirmed what (his teacher) told me the first day. I had already had a chance to accept that it was pure accident. No one could help him."

At this time, Kuykendall said she is not advocating for any type of policy change involving what is or is not an acceptable school snack.

"Nobody wants anything bad to happen when their kids are asked to bring snacks to school. No harm is ever intended," she said. "I wouldn't change sending marshmallows. It's a common snack. You wouldn't suspect kids could get hurt by doing it."

She continued, "It was a very accidental thing with my son."

Kuykendall said one of the hardest things to deal with since her son's death is the taunting her middle school-aged daughters have had to endure from some of their classmates about the way their brother died.

"Teasing by other classmates. That's what we don't understand," she said.

Kuykendall said her daughters have even been told the family made Vicente's death up.

"I just wonder how kids can approach other kids with the intention of being cruel. If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all," she said.

Overall, Kuykendall said the family is doing as best as can be expected.

"Everybody's prayers have really helped," she said. "We're very sad about his passing. He was a beautiful, beautiful person inside and out."

She recalled her "little man's" favorite words being "you're awesome, Mom."

His 16-year-old sister Mercedez Garcia expressed similar sentiments.

"We're making it. Just taking it one day at a time," she said.

Lou Svetlik, Victoria school board president, offered his condolences.

"My heart goes out to not only Pedro's family, but also to the students and teachers who worked with him. I offer my sincere condolences," Svetlik said.



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