by Tristan Turner
A 14-year-old student at Morinville Community High School (MCHS) experienced broke their forearm May 1. The student’s parents say the injury happened on school property in the field between the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and the Circle K store along 100 Ave. The student, according to one of their parents, was playing on a metal goal post with other students at the time of the injury. After one student jumped and hung off the crossbar of the post, a section of the structure of uprights that were on the posts broke off and fell, crushing the student’s arm under its weight.
The student’s father Kevin (last name withheld to protect student’s identity) said he is thankful the injuries were not more severe.
“This object fell inches from my son’s body,” he said. “If this thing would have struck him in the head or the torso, the doctor’s said this would have been a totally different situation. This could have been a fatality …”
Kevin said that due to the crushing nature of the injury, surgery may be required, though doctors are presently uncertain.
Both parents feel that the site is not safe.
“[After the accident], I took a close look at the welds [on the goal post] and they were completely rusted,” Kevin told Morinville News. “There wasn’t [a] shiny piece of steel to be seen, which means this has been in this condition for some time. The kids didn’t cause this thing to fall to the ground… It wasn’t inspected.”
Kevin said when he spoke to the school about the matter, they could not offer any comment on the incident or the state of the goal posts.
It has raised many questions about who was responsible for the upkeep of the structure, and they say neither the Town nor the school has provided clear answers.
Town claims no responsibility
After speaking with Morinville administrative staff, the Town claims that this site is not their maintenance responsibility.
David Schaefer, Director of Corporate Operations with the Town, said they have engaged in “joint use agreements” with the school, and have worked with them to do various upkeep, including reflowing the track on the field, the site is not Town of Morinville resposibility.
Claude Valcourt, Director of Public Works, said that the lot was “privately owned,” making it outside the Town or MCHS’ responsibility to maintain nor MCHS.
Valcourt said Town land maintained by his department follows a regular schedule of upkeeping the sites they are responsible for, including using portable posts that can be removed at the end of the season.
School looking into the issue – provides no comment
MCHS Principal Don Hinks told Morinville News that the issue was being examined but could offer no further comment.
He directed Morinville News to the Division employee responsible for school infrastructure. They did not return a request for further comment by deadline.