A local woman and school officials have differing takes on an incident involving a first-grader whose GPS-locator watch was confiscated by a teacher.
Cayden Phillippi, 6, attends Southern Elementary. He’s been through a lot in his short life — losing his father Josef in a fatal car accident on Ky. 461 on September 6, 2013, and before that, enduring a cancer diagnosis for his mother that put her presence in his life in constant question.
“Nobody can understand how traumatic it’s been for this baby,” said his mother, Jaymee Phillippi. “He won’t go from one end of the house to the other (by himself). He won’t go with his grandparents because he’s afraid I might die when I’m not there. ... He literally vomits (from panic episodes).”
Jaymee said that a year before Cayden’s father’s untimely death, she was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of her cancer.
“I every time he came home and I was in the hospital, he was afraid I was going to die,” she said. “Then one day, he comes home and his dad is dead.”
To ease his burden, Cayden wears a special watch with a GPS locator on it that allows Jaymee to track his movements — for his own piece of mind.
It essentially functions as a limited phone — Jaymee describes it as an “Inspector Gadget wristwatch” that you can speak into — though it has no other features of a smartphone, such as games, a keyboard, or a camera. It does have a red panic button that Cayden can hit if there’s a problem and he can be located.
When the battery apparently started losing power in class Tuesday, the device started beeping while Cayden was in class. This led to the teacher confiscating it.
“The teacher called me and said he couldn’t have it in class,” said Jaymee. “I asked if it was an ongoing problem or if he he plays with it in class. She said no, but he’s not allowed to have it.”