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5-year-old run over by lawn mower during recess at a Bemidji elementary

Aden Martin, a first-year student at J.W. Smith Elementary School, was reportedly run over by a lawn mower while playing outside during recess Thursday.

Aden's mother, Sabrina Kaiser, said the 5-year-old has a tire track across his belly, which is swollen and bruised, but he otherwise appears to be physically OK.

Superintendent Jim Hess said Aden was struck by the rear wheel of a lawn mower during the noontime recess. The lawn mower has a front-end cutting system, so the blade never came into contact or went over the boy.

Hess said Bemidji School District is investigating the incident and reviewing maintenance schedules for its schools.

"We're very concerned about students' safety and well-being," Hess said. "We are going to do what we can to make sure all our students are safe."

There were about 75 children playing outside while three paraprofessionals and a volunteer watched over them. Hess said paraprofessionals are specifically hired to supervise the children.

The lawn mower operator noticed something was wrong when he saw Aden sitting adjacent to the machine, Hess said. The operator immediately got off the lawn mower and took Aden to the school for medical attention.

The school nurse examined Aden and called his parents, Hess said.

Kaiser, Aden's mother, said she and her husband initially were told Aden had simply gotten hurt while playing outside and had a little bump.

Kaiser said she took Aden to Sanford Clinic for an examination. His abdomen is bruised and swollen, but he seems to be OK. There are grass stains on the front and back of his pants and his underwear.

Kaiser, who believes Aden was dragged by the lawn mower, said she has yet to receive a detailed explanation of how the accident occurred.

"I am quite livid," she said. "I want to know what happened."

Kaiser had a meeting Thursday afternoon with Hess; J.W. Smith Principal Patricia Welte; Traci Vaughn, Aden's K-1 teacher; the district nurse and the school nurse. Kaiser said that with the exception of Vaughn, no one at the meeting seemed concerned about the incident.

"Things happen, I know that," she said, "but when things happen, parents need to have answers."