10 Deadly Freak Accidents at Schools

By Amy Fisher

Children tend to dread going to school as it brings long boring assignments, confusing teachers, and rude classmates. Not to mention the early wake up time or gross cafeteria food, it is a miracle that anyone graduates. We all looked forward to the day that school ended and we could walk across that stage and out of the daily mundane schedule (only to return to it with any full-time job).

These students never got to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is 12+ years of non-stop education. School transportation, equipment, or even everyday staircases proved fatal in these next horrifying accidents. Now students not only have to fear the unexpected quiz in Geography, but the freak accidents that could happen at any moment.

Basketball Hoop Collapse


Everyone knows sports can be deadly, but who knew about the equipment?

In early March of 2017, Spencer Nicodemus (18) was involved in a freak accident at Irving Elementary school in Joplin, MO. Spencer was a high school student volunteering at the school when a basketball goal fell down, crushing him.

Spencer was rushed to the hospital but did not survive. No one else was hurt in the incident but other than that, there is not much other information on this case. However, there have been similar incidences. In Bucyrus, OH, a slam dunk killed a 16 year boy at his home, and in Albuquerque, NM, a middle school student learned the hard way that a not-so-tight-grip can end horrifically.

Falling Off a School Bus


Late 2016, in Edinburg, TX, Gabriel Miranda Jr. (13) went on a field trip with his Vernon Middle School classmates to visit the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus.

While on the US 281 expressway, Gabriel made his way to the back of the bus and, in what police can only assume, committed suicide by opening the back emergency exit and tumbling onto the busy road. He was later transported to McAllen Medical Center with a serious head injury. Gabriel later died from his injuries at the hospital.

The schools later reviewed all safety procedures on the school busses. The Vernon school system also considered requiring a chaperone to sit at the back of the bus to catch any other possible accidents on future field trips.

The University of Texas trip was immediately cancelled and the remaining students were returned to the school. Their parents and counselors cared for them after witnessing the traumatic event.


Killed by a Gym Bench


Non-athletic students always wonder if they’ll die in P.E. class, but not typically like this next case.

Early 2015, Brendan Jordan (7) was crushed under a 108 lb bench as it fell from a gym wall. The second grader went to retrieve a runaway soccer ball near the bench when it came loose from the wall and landed on top of him. The bench was meant to fold down from the wall and used when the room is utilized as a cafeteria.

Detective Ramaci said Brendan was running after the soccer ball just as other parents and students were arriving. That was when one of the benches fell and struck the child on the side of his head. Brendan collapsed immediately and the bench had to be lifted off of the trapped boy. The school could not determine why the bench fell or what company manufactured the equipment. Police and school staff call it an “unimaginable tragedy.”

The gym was then closed off to other students for the remainder of the day. There had never been any other gym-related accidents at the school. One of the parents from the school, who had two daughters attending at the time, called it a freak accident.

Special Needs Ignored by Teachers


Many freak accidents are thought to be just that: accidents. However, according to her father, 7 year old Kira Hales’ death might have been preventable.

Kira was a first grader at Milliken Park Elementary in Nebraska. She had a rare genetic disease that caused the amino acid glycine in her body to build up, causing her to be mute and require a wheelchair.

One afternoon during school, Kira was found face down in a bean bag chair and unresponsive, where she was quickly rushed to Fremont Medical Center. While there, they were able to restore her heartbeat. However, while she was flown out to the Children’s Hospital in Omaha, she passed away.

Kira’s father believes his daughter’s death could have been prevented by the school district. There were some speculations on who was in the room and when Kira was last checked on. The detective on the case said she used to suffer from seizures that caused her to roll over, but she hadn’t experienced one in years. Police investigating the incident could not rule out the possibility of criminal charges for any of the staff on duty at the time of the event.

Kira’s father later posted on his Facebook page that after Kira’s brain stopped functioning, she became an organ donor. Her organs helped to save four other lives.

Explosion in Shop Class


Late in his senior year, Eric Leighton (18) was working in his school’s shop class when a powerful explosion occurred.

During class, Eric and a classmate began to cut into a closed oil drum. They planned to make a BBQ grill from the scrap metal. As they began to make the first cut, the grinder ignited fumes inside the barrel. The 55-gallon peppermint oil barrel was recently cleaned using a highly flammable de-greaser.

The spark from the grinder ignited the barrel and blew a large hole in the ceiling of the classroom. Eric suffered severe head trauma from the lid of the barrel flying through the air. Other students were also injured from the explosion. Eric died later at the hospital.

The Leighton family filed a lawsuit after his death. When the shop teacher, Mr. Scott Day, was interviewed, he said he never gave permission for the boys to cut in to the barrel. The teacher was out of the room when it happened and Eric’s friend assumed they already had permission to start cutting.

The jury ruled Eric’s death an accident. Twenty two new safety regulations and annual inspections were later put in place to keep students safe from any possible future accidents.

School Water Tank Death


Divyansh Kakrora (6), a first year student at Ryan International School in New Delhi, India, was found dead in the school’s water tank in early 2016. The body was pulled out of the tank by 16 year old Prajwal Sehrawat.

The school has been called out on its extreme negligence and inaction considering the amount of time that expired between when Divyansh went missing and when he was found.

During an organized poetry contest for the students, Divyansh wandered away from his class. His teacher could not remember when he went missing and failed to search for him. He walked into an area with open wires and many opportunities for water electrification. The student that found Divyansh’s body floating in the tank was also in danger of the nearby hazardous environment.

This was the second death of a student in the surrounding school area. Just three days earlier, a five year old boy drowned in a septic tank after he went to use the toilet. We are still unsure how he got into the tank from the toilet, but it gives us another reason to avoid sketchy bathrooms.

Monkey Bars


This freak accident happened on equipment that has been common on school playgrounds for almost a century. 5 year old Andrea Tyrah DeBruhl died while playing on the monkey bars during her school’s recess.

Somehow, her body became wedged between the bars with her feet dangling. Andrea began to suffocate and an autopsy revealed that she died from lack of oxygen.

School officials at Newton County Theme School tried performing CPR on the kindergarten girl, but she was later pronounced dead at the nearby hospital.

The school released a statement that 10 teachers and other supervisors were outside at recess during the time of the accident. If only they noticed the poor strangled girl gasping for air!

Sliding Down the Bannister


A hobby of most adventurous teens, sliding down the school’s stair bannister lead to the horrible death of 14 year old freshman Tray Turner.

On September 19th of 2016, Tray asked another student to help give him a push down the stair bannister at Collinsville High School. Police were told that Tray fell off the bannister before it reached the end of the staircase.

Medical attention was given immediately while still at the high school. The freshman was airlifted to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Tray’s accident left him in the hospital for 3 days before eventually dying of his injuries.

The high school canceled its homecoming events that fall and instead collected donations for Tray’s family at the football game. Police consider the case closed as no malicious intent was involved.

Stampede in China Kills Six Children


Of all the countries to have deadly stampedes, we would think China would be near the end with its restrictive family policies.

In September of 2014, six students, aged six and seven, were killed in a stampede at Kunming's Mingtong Primary School in China. Local news reports say that some other children pushed down 2 long mattresses, causing them to land on top of many other students.

After the mattresses fell, children began to run down the stairway out of the school. Students began to fall and be trampled. Two other children were seriously injured after the incident. Other victims were treated for their injuries at local hospitals.

China has had other deadly stampedes around the same time period. In early 2014, another stampede at a mosque killed 14 people. 36 other fatalities were brought about by yet another Shanghai stampede during a New Year’s celebration in December of 2014.

Crushed in a Lathe


Long brown locks can be a wonderful feature… until they get caught in a death machine. And we thought that only happened to blondes!

One of the most horrifying accidents at Yale University was of senior Michele Dufault. Nearing graduation, Michele was working on her senior project alone in the chemistry lab when she died. This was against the rules of the University.

Michele’s classmates went in to the lab at 2:30 AM the next morning to do work when they found the lights on and music playing. That’s when they found her body inside of the lathe, a large machine used to spin wood and metal to shape it. Michele’s long hair got caught in the rotating mechanism and died of asphyxiation when her neck was compressed.

New safety standards were put in place after the accident. The lathe which killed Michele was taken away as it had no guards or emergency stop button that might have saved her life. The off switch was too far out of reach from where she was working.

Michele was a physics and astronomy major from Massachusetts. She wanted to work in oceanography after graduation.