Family Sues School District After Son Dies in Gym Class
TAZEWELL COUNTY, Va. – The mother of a 14-year-old high school freshman who died of a heart attack after a gym teacher forced him to perform wind sprints in 90-degree temperatures Sept. 6 filed a $25 million lawsuit against the school district and school officials. The mother alleges school officials were aware of her son’s heart condition, which prevented him from exerting too much energy through physical activity.
According to the lawsuit, the Richlands High School student, Kevin J. Stallard II, had a medical excuse from a pediatric cardiologist clearly stating the boy could not participate in physical fitness activities. However, gym teacher Bradley Strong forced Stallard to play basketball and execute wind sprints.
Prior to the semester starting, the boy’s mother, Patricia Stallard said she gave Debbie Smith, the school’s secretary, a doctor’s excuse for her son because the principal was unavailable on Aug. 14. Stallard added that Richlands Middle School, the student’s previous school, noted the medical condition.
Several days later on Aug. 17, Stallard was able to speak with Principal Karen Webb about her son’s condition. Webb assured her that the situation would be handled accordingly, the suit claims.
However, when school started in late August, outside and inside temperatures were extremely high. The suit states the school did nothing to help students cope with the excessive heat.
Court papers state that on Aug. 29, Stallard asked to speak to Strong, but was informed to he was too busy and would return her call within a few days.
When Kevin collapsed in front of his peers, neither Strong nor the school nurse, Angela Cox, took the appropriate steps to provide first aid, the lawsuit claims. Twenty minutes after the boy collapsed, school officials called the boy’s father asking if the student had a history of seizures or passing out. The father immediately told school officials to call for help.
Stallard was treated for seizures; however, school officials did not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In addition, the lawsuit contends school officials did not make the student’s medical information available to rescue workers.
The lawsuit has been filed against Tazewell County, Tazewell County Public Schools, Webb, Strong, Cox and Smith.
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