VIDEO: School district halts use of motorized room partitions after student crushed, killed

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Following the death of a 9-year-old boy who was killed in a bizarre accident last week, schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, have discontinued the use of motorized room partitions.

According to officials, third grader Wesley Lipicky was participating in an after-school program Friday at Franconia Elementary School when he and a teacher simultaneously pressed a button to open a large, motorized room partition.

Wesley sustained a traumatic head injury when he became caught between the partition and a wall. Following the accident, he was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead Friday night. Following an autopsy, the cause of death was determined to be accidental and authorities indicated that they do not expect to bring charges.

“The grief and anguish of the family is unfathomable,” read a Sunday Facebook post by the Franconia Elementary School PTA.

Franconia Elementary Principal Terri Edmunds-Heard wrote a letter in which she said that she was deeply saddened by Wesley’s death. “He was an endearing child whose bright smile and enthusiasm for school inspired the love of all who knew him,” she wrote.

People have created a memorial to Wesley outside of the school, which includes items such as stuffed animals, flowers, balloons and baseballs. Meanwhile, officials from the Fairfax County School District announced that they would immediately halt the use of the motorized partitions until a safety review was conducted.

“There have been no other reports of injuries before with these doors as we best understand it and we want to make sure that those doors are safe for our students and staff and to reassure our community that we’re going to do a moratorium on them and figure out the appropriate next steps after we’ve conducted the review,” Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand told FOX 5.

“We have safety protocols in place for the use of these doors and we’ll be reviewing those protocols,” Brabrand noted. “We’re going to be reaching out to the manufacturer to understand the specifics and mechanics of how this thing works and we’ll do the appropriate safety review. But I absolutely understand that this is a tragedy and no parent should have to send their child to school and have what happened on Friday.”

A memorial service will be held for Wesley on Thursday. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to assist the family with funeral expenses.

Wesley loved penguins, so the family has noted that any donations received that exceed the amount of funeral expenses will be made to the Penguins International Wesley Charles Lipicky Memorial Fund. Others can also make donations on this page, which reads, “Wesley Charles Lipicky was a young penguin lover whose beautiful life was taken too soon. In lieu of flowers, his family has asked that donations be made to support penguin conservation and research. Wesley’s memory will live on through our annual work to protect penguins and monitor the environment.”

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