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Exclusive: Inquest finds no one could foresee the death of pupil who fell from school ceiling

Kyle Grace died after falling from school ceiling. Picture: Supplied

Kyle Grace died after falling from school ceiling. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 6, 2021


Grade 6 pupil at Edgemead Primary died in the school hall four years ago

CAPE TOWN - A court inquest has found no one could be held responsible or foresee the death of a Grade 6 pupil at Edgemead Primary School who fell eight metres from the ceiling in the school hall four years ago.

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The formal inquest into the death of Kyle Grace, 12, came to an emotional and disappointing end for his parents, Michael and Michelle Grace.

The judgment into the inquest was read out this morning at Goodwood Magistrates’ Court by magistrate Paul Visagie.

Visagie said there were various questions to be asked when coming to a decision, such as whether Grace had been aware of the school’s code of conduct which prohibited pupils access to the hall and ceiling without the presence of staff.

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Kyle Grace died after falling from school ceiling. Picture: Supplied

In his findings, Visagie said no one or no party could be held responsible for Grace’s death and that it was not foreseeable.

“A school’s code of conduct is a living document and it is the responsibility to remind learners constantly of the rules.

“The school openly had a culture of discipline. The deceased was aware of this.

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“One should not lose sight that the incident happened after hours and the deceased was not to be in the building.

Michelle and Michael Grace, the parents of Kyle Grace, who died after he fell to his death at Edgemead Primary School in 2017. Picture: Brendan Magaar African News Agency (ANA)

“It cannot be expected that the aftercare was to guard all children all the time.

“I am satisfied that it was not foreseeable for anyone to go up in the ceiling. The court finds that there is no prima facie case could be proven.”

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Grace’s parents wept while the findings were made and told Weekend Argus outside court they were disappointed.

“We are not happy with the findings,” said Michael. “It seems to us as the family that everything has just been blamed on Kyle.

“There was no responsibility from the school side. There were health and safety issues at the school and it was not a construction site and we wanted transparency from the school.”

Michelle and Michael Grace with advocate Henry Shields, far right, and his associate (blue suit). Michelle and Michael are the parents of Kyle Grace. Picture: Brendan Magaar African News Agency (ANA)

Grace died in May 2017 after falling from the school ceiling and had been attending aftercare at the time.

The inquest took place with the involvement of representatives from the Western Cape Education Department and insurance teams including the State.

During the inquest, the family’s lawyer, advocate Henry Shields argued that Grace had a clean record and that no occupational health safety regulations were followed in that there was no proper signage warning pupils not to enter the area where the ceiling was located and that the headmaster had a duty to ensure the door leading to the stairwell was locked.

Shields told Weekend Argus they were disappointed at the findings.

Advocate Pedro van Wyk for the WCED stated during arguments that Grace knew the school’s rules and that he did not follow them and had caused his own death.

Weekend Argus