• Students taken to hospital after performance stage collapses

    By: Diana Davis


    ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga - Two Rockdale County High School students were taken to the hospital after the stage they were performing on collapsed.

    It happened Monday night at Salem High School’s end of year concert.

    Channel 2's Diana Davis talked to one parent who was just feet away from the stage when it gave way.

    Kimberly Rhoades was in the second row waiting for her seventh-grader to go on when she said the stage collapsed.

    “Half the students fell in,” Rhoades said. “I jumped up, I ran up there, tried to help, but then I realized the rest of the stage could collapse. So I backed off.”

    Rockdale County school district spokeswoman Cindy Ball said between 15 to 20 students were on an extension of the front of the stage.

    About half of the students on  the stage fell three or four feet down.

    Two students were taken to the hospital.

    “One girl was taken away on a stretcher. And then there was a young man with his ankle wrapped up sitting there waiting to be transported,” Rhoades said.

    Ball told Davis that both students were treated and released with no broken bones.

    “We’re very thankful that there weren’t more serious injuries or more injuries from it,” said Ball.

    The stage gave way about three songs into Salem High's show choir performance.

    The program lists senior Patricia Clark as the soloist. The program said there would be a surprise with her performance. But the collapse obviously wasn’t it.

    “It scared me, I’m just so glad my child was not on there,” said Rhoades.

    Senior Alexas Melhado was supposed to perform later in the show and arrived just minutes after the stage caved in.

    “Some kids that didn't fall were helping other kids get up, pulling them,” said Melhado. “And parents were running toward the stage and so forth. There wasn’t bleeding or anything, but I heard some of the parents came over and said some bumped the back of their head falling down.”

    After investigating further, Rockdale County schools released a statement saying:

    "Our board policy is that any addition, renovations, and/or alterations at our schools are approved by our district’s Chief Operations Officer.  Our initial investigation indicates that the extension to the Salem stage was built a few years ago and taken down, but all supplies kept for future use.  This year, a parent volunteer who is actively involved in the theatre program was asked to help rebuild this extension.  Students in the theatre program did work on rebuilding the extension under the supervision of their teacher and the parent volunteer.  Our initial assessment is that this temporary extension did not have sufficient bracing.  We will continue to investigate this incident and reinforce our policy with all administrators, teachers, and parent volunteers to ensure that our policy is followed in the future.   We appreciate the quick response of our staff, parents, local law enforcement, and  emergency medical services to ensure the safety of all involved  and we are thankful that the two students evaluated at the hospital were treated and released."

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