What to Know
Nine-year-old Wesley Lipicky died in May 2018 after he was crushed by a motorized room partition in his school in Alexandria, Virginia.
On Thursday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill into law to set classroom partition safety rules statewide.
Lipicky's grandmother said she did everything in her power "to see that a tragedy like this never happens to another family."
A Fairfax County School Board member is requesting $450,000 to add sensors to all motorized partitions in the school district after the tragic death of a 9-year-old boy.
Third-grader Wesley Lipicky was killed in 2018 when he got caught between a motorized partition and a wall inside his school in Alexandria.
Sensors can be installed with the partitions to detect when something is in the partitions’ path and stop them from moving.
Board member Tamara Derenak Kaufax requested the money for the sensors. There are at least 127 of the partitions in the district.
The funding is being added to the school district's budget, which will be presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors next month.
Fairfax County Public Schools already plans to install one of the safety devices with a motorized partition at Rocky Run Middle School, which is undergoing a major renovation.
In honor of Lipicky, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill this month to set safety standards for the use of motorized partitions in schools, making Virginia the second state in the country with a law requiring the use of safety devices with all motorized partitions in schools. Only New York has a similar law.
Starting July 1, the Wesley Charles Lipicky Act will ban the use of motorized partitions when students are in the room unless the partitions have additional safety devices, such as motion sensors. Also, the law will require annual training for anyone who operates the partitions.
Lipicky was helping a teacher operate a partition in the gym of Franconia Elementary School in Alexandria on May 18, 2018, when he got caught between the huge partition and a wall, Fairfax County police said. He suffered severe head injuries and died at a hospital that night.