HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The parents of a student who overdosed at school in January 2022 have filed a lawsuit against the City of Hartford and the Hartford Board of Education seeking $15,000 in damages.
The 13-year-old student, Ethan Hernandez-Reyes, overdosed on Jan. 13, 2022, at the Sports and Medical Sciences Academy during gym class.
According to the lawsuit, Hernandez-Reyes came to gym class and was participating in the warm-up, when the gym teacher noticed he looked unwell. The teen sat down on a nearby gym mat and the teacher instructed him to rejoin the class if he felt better – or if he felt worse, she would send him to the nurse, the lawsuit said.
The gym teacher then began coaching the class in a game of floor hockey. Shortly after, the teacher noticed that Hernandez-Reyes was lying down on the gym mat, court documents said.
The teacher ended the class at 10:22 a.m. on Jan. 13 and attempted to wake Hernandez-Reyes, but he was unresponsive, according to court records.
The gym teacher alerted the school nurse, who attempted to wake Hernandez-Reyes until the paramedics arrived. According to the court documents, the teen was transported to Connecticut Children’s for emergent medical care.
Hernandez-Reyes was pronounced dead due to a fentanyl overdose at 5:35 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2022, at the hospital, the court records said.
The complaint claimed that the “catastrophic injuries and losses” that the student sustained were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the defendant, the City of Hartford.
The lawsuit said that the City of Hartford failed to send the student to the school nurse when he appeared ill and failed to check on the well-being of the student when he appeared to be lying down. The lawsuit also alleges the school failed to properly supervise the student during class and failed to get emergency medical assistance before finding him unresponsive.
A city spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit.
During an initial investigation, Hartford police said that they believed three students came into contact with the fentanyl in the school at the same time. The two other students were transported to Connecticut Children’s after complaining of dizziness and were later released, police said.
Investigators said they found 40 small bags of fentanyl in two classrooms and the gym during a search. They believe a student brought the bags of fentanyl into the school, police said.
Before reopening the school in January 2022, the clean-up crew had to replace air filters and wipe down the walls and floor of the building to ensure the safety of students.