Local News

School Systems Inspecting Bleachers After Death Of 6-Year-Old Raleigh Girl

Posted May 3, 2002

— Several school bleachers are being reinspected after an accident involving a young girl in Wake County.

School leaders are working to determine whether they are unsafe following the death of 6-year-old Sarah Hathaway, who fell 20 feet through the bleachers at Cary High School last Friday.

The accident happened as the Wake County School System was working to make the seats safer. Earlier this year, the school system had the state examine all of its bleachers.

Johnston County schools are almost rid of their unsafe bleachers. North Johnston High School facilities director P.V. Stone ordered aluminum slats to upgrade the bleachers at Ben E. Strifert Stadium.

"You have about a 18- to 24-inch gap here that an adult can slide through," Stone said.

Stone said the opening slats are dangerous even though there have not been any reported accidents involving the school's bleachers.

"I think they are really, quite a bit unsafe, for anyone, adult or kid, to have an accident in, especially the way kids play," he said. "We knew it was already a problem. The new bleachers are so much safer-looking if not safer."

Princeton and Clayton High Schools in Johnston County are also looking for safety upgrades. The renovations to the bleachers at North Johnston High School cost $30,000 a set.


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