Society

Girl Dies When Wall Collapses In Scottish School, Student Says She Warned Teachers About Wall Months Ago

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Scottish girl died Tuesday morning when a wall in the locker room of her Edinburgh high school fell on her.

The girl, who was not identified, was changing for gym class at Liberton High School – the same school where a 15-year-old student fell down an empty elevator shaft in December 2011.

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“Police in Edinburgh responded to Liberton High School after a wall within the building collapsed, injuring a female pupil at 10am,” a police spokesman said. “She was treated by ambulance staff on the scene, but was pronounced dead.”

Another student, 13-year-old Devon Blyth, told BBC News that she had warned a teacher months ago that a wall in the girl’s changing room was unstable.

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"There was a wall that's been wobbly for months," Blyth said. Her teacher allegedly told her "it should be fine – and then this has happened.”

Serving about 650 students, Liberton was built in 1959. It’s gymnasium was refurbished in the mid-1980s, according to the BBC.

When the collapse occurred the school sent out the following text message to parents: "Important! Accident at school. A pupil has sadly died. Her parents are aware. No-one else is injured."

The Edinburgh City Council urged parents to pick up their children immediately.

BBC reporter Morag Kinniburgh said students were already anxious and upset and texting their parents to come and get them.

“I heard what happened at assembly. The school said a girl was hit by a wall in the changing rooms of the gymnasium. I change there myself, beside that wall. It could have been me,” Tamara Taylor, 12, told the Edinburgh Evening News.

“The wall looked OK, but it was loose and it wobbled a bit," she added. "Some of the kids have been pushing it while they were changing. It has been like that for months.”

"My step-daughter phoned and said one of the walls in the changing room had collapsed,” Gary Gracie, 34, told BBC News as he stood at the gates of the school. "The lassies were getting changed for their PE class in the changing room. My step-daughter heard the crash. She said it was all her friends in the building at the time. She is really upset."

"Inquiries into the full circumstances surrounding this incident are ongoing and we are working alongside our relevant partner agencies,” a police spokesman said.

In February the Edinburgh Council was fined £8000, about $13,000, over the 2011 elevator shaft incident in which a student suffered three broken vertebrae, bruising to her back, and a wrist sprain after tumbling 20 feet down the elevator shaft.

Sources: Edinburgh Evening News, BBC News, Irish Times