High Wind Topples School Flagpole, Killing Kkindergartner During Recess

Monday, April 16th 2007, 9:52 pm
By: News On 6

FERNDALE, Mich. (AP) _ High winds toppled a flagpole onto a kindergartner during recess at an elementary school Monday, killing the girl, a school spokeswoman said.

The accident happened in an interior courtyard at Roosevelt Primary School in Detroit's northern suburbs.

About 15 other children were in the courtyard at the time, but none was injured, said district spokeswoman Stephanie Hall. They were taken inside the building while the principal and two teachers remained with the 5-year-old girl, who was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

``We stayed with her to make sure she felt supported and secure,'' said Principal Dina Krause.

The girl's name wasn't released.

``She was a precious little girl,'' Krause said. ``She was a good student with an incredible smile.''

Winds in the area were blowing out of the northeast at about 25 mph, with gusts near 40, the National Weather Service said.

Annette Serano, who was picking up her third-grade son, Ben, after school, said she was upset to learn that officials allowed children to be outside.

``I don't understand _ I weigh 140 pounds and I was blown around,'' she said.

Krause said the school's kindergartners commonly play in the courtyard, even on windy days, because it offers shelter from the elements. The school has about 370 kindergarten through third grade students.

The school was built in 1920, and has had multiple renovations, the district said. School officials weren't sure about the age of the flagpole or who made it, but said it hadn't been replaced recently.

An American flag was flying on the pole at the time it toppled.