$10M settlement announced in heat death of Georgia student

Nov 29, 2022, 8:47 AM | Updated: 2:40 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — The parents of a Georgia high school basketball player who collapsed while practicing outdoors in sweltering heat and later died announced Tuesday that they have agreed to a $10 million settlement with the school district.

As part of the settlement, the Clayton County school system agreed to rename the gymnasium at Elite Scholars Academy for Imani Bell, who was a 16-year-old junior at the school when she died. A ceremony was set to be held Tuesday afternoon to commemorate that renaming, the family’s lawyers said.

Imani’s father, Eric Bell, called the renaming of the gym a “great honor,” but said the settlement is “bittersweet.”

“We’d trade everything to have her back here with us,” he said in a phone interview.

Imani collapsed on Aug. 13, 2019, after running up the football stadium steps during required conditioning drills for the girls’ basketball team, her family said in the wrongful death lawsuit filed against administrators at the school. The temperature was in the high 90s Fahrenheit (more than 35 degrees Celsius) at the time and the area was under a heat advisory.

Imani died later that day from heat-related cardiac arrest and kidney failure, the lawsuit said. An autopsy done by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found that she had no preexisting conditions and her death was due solely to heatstroke caused by strenuous physical exertion in extreme temperatures, the family’s lawyers said.

Two coaches, Larosa Walker-Asekere and Dwight Palmer, were indicted in July 2021 on charges including murder and child cruelty in Imani’s death. That criminal case is ongoing.

Imani’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in February 2021. Online court records show that suit was settled last month. An attorney for the family, L. Chris Stewart, said the significant settlement amount sends a message to other school districts.

“It sends a nationwide message to every school district and every athletic program … that the lives of our children matter over athletics, and every district needs to realize that no child should die from heat exhaustion,” he said. “We salute Clayton County for sending that message nationwide.”

A Clayton County Public Schools statement released Tuesday said the district is pleased to have reached “the best possible resolution of this tragic case.”

“We have all lost a wonderful student. The attention this afternoon is rightfully on her legacy. The School District stands with the community in its commitment to the education and safety of its students,” the statement said.

Imani’s family has started the Keep Imani Foundation, which their lawyers said will be funded in part by funds from the settlement. Eric Bell said it will offer scholarships for students and will help schools get cold tubs to help prevent heat stroke deaths.

Bell said he wants to send a message to school officials: “Keep educating coaches, keep educating students about the dangers of heat and humidity, and try to be prepared for a situation like this.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A Leopard 1 tank drives in Storkau, Germany, on May 19, 2000. Ukraine may be able to add old...
Associated Press

Ukraine may also get old Leopard 1 tanks from German stocks

BERLIN (AP) — Ukraine may be able to add old Leopard 1 battle tanks from German defense industry stocks to deliveries of modern tanks that Berlin and other governments pledged last week to counter Russian forces in the war. German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit confirmed Friday that “export authorization has been granted” but declined to […]
6 hours ago
FILE - President Barack Obama, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START treat...
Associated Press

NATO urges Russia to respect nuclear pact with the US

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO called Friday on Russia to respect the only treaty it has with the United States aimed at keeping a lid on nuclear weapons expansion and urged Moscow to allow on-the-ground inspections of military sites to resume. The so-called New START Treaty was signed by Russia and the U.S. in 2010. It […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Reports: 8 migrants’ bodies recovered by Italian coast guard

MILAN (AP) — The bodies of eight migrants have been recovered by Italy’s coast guard during an operation overnight that also rescued 42 survivors in the central Mediterranean off the island of Lampedusa, Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday. The coast guard in Rome and in Lampedusa declined to immediately confirm details of the rescue, […]
6 hours ago
A Ukrainian serviceman controls a drone during a demonstration close to the border with Belarus, Uk...
Associated Press

Along Ukraine-Belarus border, a war of nerves — and drones

BELARUS BORDER, Ukraine (AP) — The reconnaissance drones fly several times a day from Ukrainian positions deep inside the thick forest that marches across the border into Belarus, a close Russian ally, scouring sky and land for signs of trouble on the other side. Ukrainian units are monitoring the 1,000-kilometer (650-mile) frontier of marsh and […]
6 hours ago
FILE - A vender waits for customers at a vegetable market place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, June...
Associated Press

China confirms offer to Sri Lanka of debt moratorium

BEIJING (AP) — China’s government on Friday confirmed it is offering Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium on loan repayments as the Indian Ocean island nation struggles to restructure $51 billion in foreign debt that pushed it into a financial crisis. China lent to Sri Lanka as part of Beijing’s multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to […]
6 hours ago
Associated Press

Jailed leader of Greek far-right party faces election ban

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s government is seeking to ban a far-right political party led by a jailed former lawmaker from participating in a general election later this year, with a legislative initiative that has gained cross-party support. Ilias Kasidiaris, 42, founded the Greek National Party two years ago. He is currently serving a sentence […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
$10M settlement announced in heat death of Georgia student