Boy seriously injured when heavy metal gate falls on him at Lawrence elementary school

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A day at a Lawrence grade school turned dangerous Thursday for an eight-year-old boy, who was seriously injured when a heavy metal fencing in a construction area at the school fell on him.

The eight-year-old boy from Lawrence was taken to the playground at New York Elementary School in Lawrence by his teenaged babysitter. School officials say the entire school has been under construction for more than a year. At some point, police and witnesses say the boy must have wandered from the playground over to an area under construction where there were heavy metal gates leaned up against a brick enclosure. Officials say at least one of those gates fell onto the little boy and the construction workers had to get the boy out from underneath.

Emergency crews took the boy to an area where a helicopter could land and took him to Children's Mercy Hospital.

One witness said the boy was unresponsive at the time.

A neighbor told FOX 4 that a couple of weeks ago, there was orange netted fencing up around the construction site, but in this phase of construction, it was taken down.

"Even when they had that orange netting up, the kids would crawl through, I knew someone would get hurt," one neighbor, June Floyd said.

"I don't think it's as safe as it could be," said another neighbor, Greg Herrod.

According to neighbors, crews put up yellow caution tape Thursday night, but there still was not a fence to physically keep people out.

In a statement, the Lawrence School District says its thoughts are with the family of the young boy.  One woman told FOX 4 he was in her child's class, a soon to be third grader.  School starts next week- and the district has a crisis response team to help as needed.  At the last update, the child was still in critical condition.