Middle school student dies in boating accident
By Monday, almost every Fairfield Middle School student with a computer or a cell phone knew a seventh-grader had died in a boating accident Sunday evening. As they arrived at school this morning after the three-day Memorial Day weekend, they found pink balloons, flowers, candles and messages written in chalk on the front sidewalk of the school.
The seventh grader, 12-year-old Sarah Nicole “Niki” Perkins, was struck and killed by a boat about 7 p.m. Sunday on the Coralville Reservoir.
According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Perkins fell off a tube being towed by a boat and was struck by a different oncoming boat.
The Iowa DNR is leading the investigation, with assistance from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. A person of interest has been identified, but that person’s name or the names of the boat operators have been released.
FMS Principal Mike Dailey said as the news spread through the community Monday, an impromptu group of about a dozen students gathered at the school to decorate the sidewalk and hang posters in memory of their friend.
This morning, Dailey asked first-hour teachers to talk to students about Niki.
“This is something they needed to hear one-on-one, not over the loud speakers,” said Dailey. “I’m very proud of our teachers for doing this.”
According to Dailey, counselors were available today to speak with any student who wanted to talk.
Some teachers, he continued, are letting students “recoup” today. Some are letting students make more posters to be hung around the school, in the office and at Niki’s locker in her memory.
Dailey also plans to post information about Niki on the school district’s Web site at www.fairfieldsfuture.org.
For the complete article, see the Tuesday, June 1, 2010, printed edition of The Fairfield Ledger.