A 7-year-old boy died Thursday after an accident on the campus of a private school in San Rafael, according to a school official.
Joe Harvey, the head of Mark Day School, wrote in a letter to families that the student was fatally injured in a tragic accident. It was later disclosed that a fence fell on the boy on the school's playground.
A number of students and staff witnessed the accident, and some staff members provided care until emergency personnel arrived, the letter said. The student was taken to a hospital but did not survive.
The school did not have the full details of how the accident happened, but it appeared that the fence had a sliding element that became derailed. The fence was so heavy that it took six officers to lift it, officials said.
"Somehow the fence egress derailed or failed off the track and struck the boy, and brought him to the ground," said Lt. Dan Fink of the San Rafael Police Department. "The fence was extremely heavy. He suffered injuries that were, unfortunately, fatal."
The coroner examined the boy Friday and said he was unconscious after the incident and that he was in cardiac arrest when first responders arrived.
School officials are working with authorities to investigate.
Classes were in session Friday, Harvey said in the letter, but the school cancelled a scheduled morning assembly, and grief counselors were available on campus for students, staff and families.
Here is the full letter sent to Mark Day School families:
"It is with a very heavy heart that I write this message today, to tell you of a tragic accident involving one of our young students. Earlier today, a student was fatally injured on our playground. Members of our staff witnessed the accident, immediately called 911, and did their best to provide care for the student. He was transported to the hospital but, tragically, did not survive. We have expressed our support and condolences to his parents, and ask that all of you hold them in your thoughts as well.
"Other students and staff members witnessed this distressing accident, and we know they also will require support from their parents and other caring adults. We will have school tomorrow. We are, however, canceling morning assembly, and are making arrangements to have counselors available for any student who needs extra support during this very difficult time. Please use your judgment about whether your child should attend school tomorrow. We will be reaching out in the future with additional resources to help you talk with your child about this.
"We don’t have full details yet about how this occurred, but are working with authorities to investigate. The safety of our students is so important to all of us, and we want to understand how this could have happened. The section of campus where this occurred will be completely closed off.
"The death of someone so young is devastating for all of us, and even more so under these circumstances and at this time of year, when we are surrounded by celebrations while we mourn. All of us at Mark Day School express our deepest sympathies to his family, classmates and friends."