Uxbridge student injured by malfunctioning school laptop

Image courtesy of MGN

By Peyton Benbow

MCAS testing paused at an Uxbridge school when a school-provided computer malfunctioned and started smoking. Around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Whitin Intermediate School was undergoing its scheduled ELA MCAS exams. The boy whose laptop malfunctioned, a sixth grader named Gabe, told NBC Boston, “It caught on fire.”

The school activated an alarm and noted in a statement that staff and students were evacuated “safely and without incident.” The Uxbridge Fire Department responded, and students were back in the building by 10:45 a.m. Gabe’s guardians brought him to a local hospital, where he was treated for burns on his hands.

ELA MCAS testing for the fourth and seventh graders has been put on hold until further notice. Third graders took their ELA MCAS at Taft Early Learning Center as scheduled that same day. The school district announced they would be working with the Department of Technology and Digital Learning to prevent similar incidents as MCAS testing resumes. 

Later on Tuesday, the Uxbridge Fire Department posted laptop safety tips to Facebook, advising residents to keep laptops on hard surfaces and clean laptop fans of dust to prevent overheating.

The superintendent of Uxbridge Public Schools, Michael Baldassarre, said: “The safety of our students is paramount and we will be taking the necessary steps to ensure that something like this does not occur in the future.”