NJ Middle School Teacher Overdoses on Fentanyl in Front of Students

The campus school resource officer administered Narcan to the art teacher, which revived him after he overdosed on fentanyl.

NJ Middle School Teacher Overdoses on Fentanyl in Front of Students

Photo: Hanson, Adobe Stock

Westfield, New Jersey – A 57-year-old art teacher at Roosevelt Intermediate School has been arrested a month after he allegedly overdosed on fentanyl in front of students in his classroom.

Criminal charges against Frank Thompson were announced on Friday by Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro, accusing the teacher of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and endangering the welfare of children.

The incident happened on November 29 at about 9 a.m. The school’s resource officer (SRO) Fortunato Riga arrived at the scene and found Thompson was unconscious and unresponsive in his classroom. Thompson had been observed by students to be in distress and was being treated by the campus nurse.

Riga believed the teacher was experiencing an opioid/fentanyl overdose and administered Naloxone Hydrochloride (commonly referred to as “Narcan”). The SRO was required to carry Narcan to reverse the symptoms of an overdose, and its administration resulted in Thompson’s condition improving.

After the incident, investigators found drugs and drug paraphernalia in a closet inside Thompson’s classroom.

He teaches 6th and 7th grade visual art and 8th grade arts and crafts at Roosevelt Intermediate School reports CBS News.

“The swift actions of Officer Riga, who is on-site at Roosevelt Intermediate each school day, proved instrumental in maintaining the safety of the students and administering potentially life-saving measures to Mr. Thompson,” Battiloro said in a statement.

All Westfield Police officers and SROs are equipped with Narcan. It was used by Westfield officers on suspected drug overdose victims 13 times last year.

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About the Author

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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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