Piece of scaffolding strikes girl in head, construction at school 'paused,' TDSB says

The Toronto District School Board says work "has been paused" on a construction project at Palmerston Avenue Junior Public School after a piece of scaffolding fell on a student on Monday morning, CBC Toronto has learned.

Parent says construction project at school has long concerned him

John Burridge, a parent at Palmerston Avenue Junior Public School, says he has been concerned about the safety of a construction project at the school for some time. On Monday, a piece of scaffolding struck a student. (Petar Valkov/CBC)

The Toronto District School Board says work "has been paused" on a construction project at Palmerston Avenue Junior Public School after a piece of scaffolding fell on a student on Monday morning, CBC Toronto has learned. 

The girl was outside the school, located near Palmerston Boulevard and Bloor Street West, when a piece of construction material fell and hit her in the head.

Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the TDSB, told CBC Toronto the girl was immediately brought inside, that her mother was called, and that she was taken to see a doctor.

"We understand that she's going to be fine," said Bird.

Scaffolding hugs one end of a Palmerston Avenue school building. (Petar Valkov/CBC)

Parent John Burridge, who has a son and a daughter at the school, says he arrived just after the incident occurred and saw the young girl "upset and crying," with blood coming out of a gash in her head.

Burridge said the construction, which is a renovation project on one of the school's two buildings, had caused him concern in the past.

"It's been going on for quite a bit of time," he said. "It looks to me like the children are walking through the construction site every morning."

TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird says that the construction site is now safe, but that the project will be paused 'in an abundance of caution.' (Petar Valkov/CBC)

Bird told CBC Toronto that after Monday's incident, a contractor performed an inspection to make sure the site was safe.

"We did get those assurances," said Bird, who added that by Tuesday, students were using the playground area near the construction project again.

"In the meantime, work has been paused out of an abundance of caution," he added. 

The Palmerston parents community site was updated on Wednesday with a note from principal Matthew Reid that indicates construction is likely to resume on Jan. 22 and continue for one final week. 

He had also posted an update on Tuesday that said the young girl who was struck will be back at school soon. 

On Monday, the province announced an investment of $748 million to build 39 new schools and perform "major renovations" and additions on another 40. 

A statement from the Ministry of Education to CBC Toronto on Wednesday says each school board is responsible for ensuring that construction projects at schools comply with "all appropriate health and safety requirements and guidelines."