Bench from folding table collapses at school, killing boy, 7

AP News
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Posted: Jan 08, 2015 2:46 PM

NEW MILFORD, N.J. (AP) — A bench from a folding table attached to a wall collapsed at a New Jersey school, striking and killing a 7-year-old boy.

Brenden Jordan was attending an indoor recreation soccer program at Berkley Street Elementary School in New Milford on Wednesday night when he came near a fold-down table and benches stored in the wall.

Detective Lt. Frank Ramaci says one of the benches fell out of the wall and struck the boy's head. It's not yet known whether Brenden touched the table.

School Superintendent Michael Polizzi tells The Record newspaper that the table is secured with a key and it's not clear what caused the bench to fall. He says the tables were installed about 11 years ago.

The boy was a student at Gibbs Elementary School.

Grief counselors are available at both schools.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A folding table attached to a wall collapsed at a school during a recreational soccer practice, killing a 7-year-old boy preparing for his season opener, officials said.

Brenden Jordan, a student at Gibbs Elementary School in New Milford, was attending an indoor recreation soccer program at the town's Berkley Street Elementary School on Wednesday night when he came near a fold-down table and benches stored in the wall.

The table fell open and the child was struck by a bench, Detective Lt. Frank Ramaci said in a news release. It's not yet known whether the boy touched the table.

School Superintendent Michael Polizzi told The Record (http://bit.ly/1tQN7uA) newspaper that the table folds vertically into the wall and has benches attached to both sides. It is secured with a key.

Polizzi said he didn't know if it had been properly locked.

He said the tables have been in "good working condition," and the school has never had a problem with them since they were installed about 11 years ago.

"It's a tremendous loss for all of us, a shock for the family especially," Polizzi said. "I can't imagine the void the family will feel.

School tables have led to students being injured or killed before.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has warned since the mid-1990s of the potential safety risks of mobile folding tables used in schools across the country, according to spokeswoman Patty Davis. Those tables are different than the ones used in the New Jersey school.

The commission has received reports of several deaths and injuries in schools when the mobile tables tipped over. It warned that most accidents happened during afterschool or nonschool activities and warned schools to not allow children to move the tables or play with them.

Davis said the commission is investigating the New Jersey accident.

John Bigger, the recreation director for New Milford, told The Record that the boy was a member of the borough's indoor soccer team and was with a group of six 7- and 8-year-old children practicing for their Sunday opener. He said practices in the gym were suspended for a few days while it is inspected, and he doesn't know if the team will play Sunday.

Grief counselors were made available at both schools.