HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A 13-year-old boy died due to his exposure to fentanyl at a school in Hartford last week.
On Saturday, just after 5.35 pm, the boy succumbed to his injuries and was declared dead.
Hartford Police responded to The Sport and Medical Sciences Academy on January 13 on the report of an unconscious male youth. CPR was administered upon arrival and the boy was transported to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center for treatment.
Two other people complained of dizziness and were also transported to the CCMC for evaluation, police said. They were later discharged from the hospital.
The school went into a “Code Yellow” to shelter in place, and several drug-detecting dogs were dispatched to the school to conduct a safety investigation for further drug presence. The students were fired from the school around noon. 15 without further problems.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin issued a statement Saturday night, noting that “our city mourns the loss of this lost child, his loved ones, his friends, his teachers and the entire SMSA family.”
“We still have a lot to learn about the circumstances of this tragedy, and about how a child had access to such a shocking amount of such deadly drugs, and our police [department] will continue their investigation and seek to hold the adults responsible, who are ultimately responsible for this child’s death, ”Bronin said. “In the meantime, our prayers are with everyone affected by this loss and we will do everything we can to support the SMSA community.”
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Hartford police lieutenant Aaron Boisvert said investigators found 40 small bags of what was later determined to be fentanyl in powder form during a search of the school. The bags were found in two classrooms and the gym.
Two other students who came in contact with the drug have been released and are at home, Boisvert said.
Police said evidence of fentanyl was found near the 13-year-old seventh grader.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the first reports came Thursday morning about a student who was unconscious and breathing at the school. The 13-year-old seventh grader had collapsed in the gym. Bronin said firefighters arrived quickly and began saving lives.
Police believe the three students came in contact with the fentanyl at the same time. Police said they believe a student brought the bags of fentanyl into the school.
The school was placed in a soft barrier while DEA and drug-sniffing dogs searched the school for additional drugs.
Before any of the students at the school left for the day, they had to go through a decontamination process.
“Students and teachers and anyone who was in school had to go through a solution of bleach and OxiClean, which dissolves and neutralizes the fentanyl before they were allowed to leave the building,” Thody said.
DEEP monitored the decontamination of the school, with crews in hazmat suits scrubbing down the classrooms from 7th to 12th grade and filtering the air to decontaminate the school from fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is a poison, these drugs are a poison, and if you are a parent, take the hard conversation with your child tonight that if someone offers or suggests that they experiment with or ingest a drug they think is a drug or “they do not know what it is, do not do it, stay a mile away, and for God’s sake please report it so we can try to protect your child, their friends and every child,” said Bronin.
The Sports and Medical Sciences Academy was closed Friday and all classes were canceled, according to school principal Alison Giuliano.
Superintendent of Hartford Schools Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez issued a statement Sunday:
With deep grief, I informed all of Hartford Public School’s families, staff, and partners on Saturday night that our student from the Sport and Medical Sciences Academy (SMSA), who was in serious condition at Connecticut Children’s Hospital, had passed away.
I extend my heart and express my deepest sympathy to the student’s family, friends and loved ones for their loss. I ask everyone to keep family, friends and the entire school community on SMSA in their thoughts and prayers.
This tragic loss will raise many emotions, concerns and questions for our school community, especially our students. Our school and district crisis intervention team has already been assembled and will continue to help with the needs of students, parents and school staff.
Our school social workers are available Sunday and Monday for students, families and staff both in person and virtually. Clinical psychologists from Connecticut Children’s Hospital will also be available to students, families and staff Sunday and Monday by phone to offer emotional health support.
Today I sent a message to all our families who provided additional resources to help support their child through grief and loss. The message included some ways parents and guardians can begin these difficult conversations with their children, as well as answers to questions that may arise over the next few weeks and months.
As a community, we will continue to provide additional support and care to students, families and staff who need it. Once again, I ask everyone to please keep your family, friends and the entire school community in your hearts as we support each other through this incredible tragedy. “
– Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez
The investigation is ongoing.
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