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Posted on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 9:39 a.m.

Saline student taken to hospital after falling 30 feet from high school's balcony

By John Counts

A student was injured after a 30-foot fall from a balcony at Saline High School Monday morning, officials said.

Huron Valley Ambulance spokesperson Karen Gabrys said a student was being transported from the high school to Mott Children's Hospital in stable condition.

The fall involved a 13-year-old male student and occurred around 9 a.m. in the high school's gymnasium, said Saline district spokesman Steve Laatsch.

"We don't know the extent of the situation," he said. "A student fell over the balcony in the gym."

The student was on the running track of the balcony during a fitness class that is offered to middle schoolers, Laatsch said. The incident was reported to school officials at 9 a.m., which means it probably happened not long before at the tail end of first period, which runs from 7:50 to 8:50 a.m.

The student was responsive and conscious after the fall, Laatsch said, and didn't appear to have any broken bones, though he seemed to be bleeding from the mouth.

While school officials don't think it involves bullying at this point, the incident continues to be investigated.

"We'll be looking into all the specifics, Laatsch said.

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John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Tue, Oct 30, 2012 : 1:20 a.m.

My heart goes out to the student and family. My understanding is that this is a special needs student and maybe, for whatever reason, the school system could not comment on know the legal world we live in.

John Counts

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

Hello. The "bullying" part of the story was intended to make it clear that we don't yet know if it was accidental or if other students were involved. If there were other students involved, it's a much different incident than if it was just an accidental fall. There could be legal consequences, for instance. It's a valid question and one school officials weren't ready to say, "No" to Monday afternoon as they continued their investigation into what exactly happened. Hopefully we'll learn more about it tomorrow.


Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

I thought so. Keep us updated. That bleeding from mouth thing has me wondering what else is going on inside. Scary.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

Hope and pray he is okay. Very scary.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

Not good at all.Hope he is ok.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

"While school officials don't think it involves bullying at this point, the incident continues to be investigated. " John why not mention that it does not look like a banana peel caused it? Or it does not appear a gust of wind caused it? Totally useless to mention bulling at this point! Glad the update indicates he is OK!


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

My child has gym second hour, the gym teacher said a special needs student from the middle school had thrown a ball over the rail and climbed over to chase it down. The teacher said he seemed okay, popped up like it was nothing so hopefully he will be fine. Hopefully the article will be updated soon with official word on his health.

Martha Andrews-Schmidt

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

My 12 year-old grandson took a 25 foot fall several years ago, landing flat on his back. It briefly knocked him out and also knocked the wind out of him, but he appeared to be otherwise unharmed. A trip to a hospital confirmed this. It was a terrifying experience for him and his family, and we send all our best wishes to the young man of this story. Fingers crossed.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Exactly why would school officials even mention bullying. It may well have been an accident. We all wish the student a full recovery!


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

I assumed the reporter asked this, because I doubt that would be the first thing the school would raise, at least to the press.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

It's possible they were asked that question, and it's a popular topic of late. Before rumors flied, it may have been good to make an upfront statement about their initial assessment.

Bob W

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

I was curious as to why they felt the need to reference bullying as well??


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

And as of this writing (3:14p) absolutely NO CORRESPODENCE FROM THE SCHOOL TO THE PARENTS! NONE!! This is wrong!


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

loyallocal--what do you want them to do, inform all parents to instruct their kids to be careful around balconies?


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Perhaps there is a need for privacy to the family. I am certain that the school has alerted all parents whose child may be in danger of falling off the balcony.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Better get rid of those CAPS - sure way to get your comment removed. I am sure the school is figuring out what went on this morning. Sometimes caution is warranted - maybe the case here too.

Silly Sally

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

"13-year-old male student" Why not say " a 13-year-old boy...? Even worse is when this "paper" says stuff such as " female child" instead of "girl" Then some of these same writers will say, " the suspect is a male instead of a man. One could wonder if they meant a male dog? It is this whole business of turning an adjective such as "male" or "female" into a noun. It began with police reports, which are not the best written. writers should strive to do better. I'm sure that everyone, including myself, is so glad that he didn't break his neck or worse in this fall.30 feet - wow. That is a lot even from a diving board into water. He was lucky to have survived as he did. Lets all pray for a speedy recovery.

John Counts

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 11:08 p.m.

Hi Silly Sally. Your point on style is a valid one and I used the term "boy" in the updated story. The main reason it wasn't used in this initial report was that at the time it was breaking and I wrote the first post, school officials did not have an age on the student to release. When someone is 18 or older, we try and use "man" or "woman." If they are younger, "boy" or "girl". If we don't know the age, something like "a male student" has to suffice. We try and be as consistent as humanly possible on these types of issues, but I do appreciate you pointing it out. Honez, the report came from neither a police report nor a press release, but direct interviews with emergency and school officials as soon as the incident happened.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

The article is probably a combination of a police report and press release from the school and not really written by the mostly volunteer/underpaid staff at


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

I've never been in that gym... is there some sort of balcony for watching sporting events?


Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

I can't imagine a running balcony. Although the one in Canton does have one. Would never catch me on one of those things. I guess I have a real fear of heights and falling.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

There is a running track above the gym. Bleachers adjacent on the straights, nothing on the curves.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

I'd share a comment, but I'm highly confident that unless I say something like "I'm praying for a speedy recovery," my comments would be "moderated."


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

I hope this wasn't malicious as well. Years and years ago when I was in middle school, there was maybe a 15-foot drop from a balcony to the gym floor. Some kids were fooling around chasing each other, one thought it would be smart to go through the railing and jump down to get away. Nobody pushed him or anything, he just fell awkwardly and broke both his wrists. My point: kids are kids, no amount of safety precautions will keep them from doing dumb things once in awhile. Just teach your own to manage the risks and hopefully they'll live to adulthood without major damage. A broken arm is a good learning experience, a broken head isn't.

music to my ear

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 5:23 p.m.

with kids, we all know accidents can happen through horse play. it did with mine the principle was so sorry and apologetic, and I told her you don't know my son he was fine after a few stitches I hope this young man will be fine too.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 8 p.m.

When a parent says "horse play", it typically means "I am ignoring that my child is bullied" or my child is a bully".

music to my ear

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

what I meant by you don't know my son is he was a little more mischievous than most boys .I did not hold them accountable it was an accident.

Matt Tuck

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 4:28 p.m.

There are a few balconies in SHS. The track that is above the gym is the highest drop. I wonder how this happened because there is 4 foot high guard fence around the track.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

First and foremost, I hope that the injuries are minor and that the young man is on his way to recovery. The distance of the fall cannot be taken lightly - it is a long way from the track to the floor in that gym. A very serious matter indeed that I am certain that the school will get to the bottom of. I don't know why a middle schooler would need to take a fitness class at the high school under any circumstances. As far as I know, the only class offered at that time is 'fitness for athletes', a sort of advanced class for high school athletes where they can get additional supervised and sport specific training. Doesn't make any sense to me - if this was, in fact, the class - for a 13 year old to be in a class with high school kids. Kids don't generally just fall from a railed track, either. just my opinion - not making any accusations

Amanda Zee

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

Many students begin 9th grade at age 13, if their birthday is in September, October, or November. They are the just at the end of the cutoff date and had not been advanced a grade.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

No - that a middle school student is taking a class at the high school and whether he was in a class with other high school students. I see no need for either, the MS gym is a fine (and appropriate) place for a middle school student to be in a PE class.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 6:54 p.m.

Is your concern that a middle schooler should not be allowed on a balcony?


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

My son will be in high school next year....9th grade and he will be 13.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

I am very sorry to hear about this. I hope there are no permanent injuries, that the healing process is quick and that the student is able to rapidly return to full health and school. I also hope that it was purely an accident.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Nothing but positive thoughts for this family. Wow, Scary times for that mom and dad.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2:41 p.m.

I, too, hope there is no permanent damage. That's quite a fall.


Tue, Oct 23, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

I knew someone who fell from a ladder. 15 feet onto hard concrete. Bleeding from mouth? Yup I saw that too. There has to be internal injuries. And they are looking into bullying? Interesting. Good luck to the student. Can't wait to hear the outcome on this one.


Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

Hoping for a good outcome on the injuries.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Oct 22, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

Wow. Scary. I hope he's all right! That's a heck of a fall. please follow up.