UNITED STATES NEWS

Virginia governor orders schools to disclose details of school-related drug overdoses

Nov 2, 2023, 1:16 PM

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has issued an executive order requiring school systems to notify parents of school-related overdoses after the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said there have been seven fentanyl-related overdoses connected to one high school in the last three weeks.

Both Youngkin and Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman faulted the Loudoun school system for failing to timely notify parents of the rash of overdoses in recent weeks at Park View High School in Sterling. None of the overdoses were fatal but several occurred on school grounds and required CPR or the administration of naloxone to save the students’ lives, according to the sheriff’s office.

School officials say they are taking the issue seriously and working with the sheriff’s office to combat the problem.

Chapman said his deputies had been in touch with school officials, and had been under the impression that the school system was going to notify parents of what was happening. On Tuesday Park View’s principal sent out a note that generically detailed the dangers of fentanyl and stating, “We are seeing students ingesting drugs prior to school and suffering the effects while in school.”

Chapman, though, said the email from the school system was far too vague about a specific threat. So later that day, the sheriff’s office sent out its own email specifying that his office is investigating at least eight opioid-related overdoses of Park View students, including seven in the last three weeks.

In an email obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request, Chapman told Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence of his disappointment in the school system’s message.

“Very vague, evasive and boilerplate. There is nothing that specifically addresses the crisis you and I discussed last week and a short time ago regarding Parkview HS. I believe parents, students and residents of Sterling need to know what is actually occurring,” Chapman wrote.

Spence, in a phone interview, said the school system shied away from using specific numbers for privacy issues and because it lacked some of the data to know precisely how many overdoses occurred. As an example, he said the school will sometimes call an ambulance for a child to receive medical attention, and while there may a suspicion of an overdose, it could be another medical condition.

He said the executive order will require an exploration of privacy issues, because students who might see a classmate wheeled out on a gurney to receive treatment could have their privacy violated if a school then sends out a letter telling the entire community that the incident was related to a drug overdose.

He said staff at the school have been working diligently to combat the drug issue and he’s proud of their efforts. He said that while “reasonable people can differ” on whether the school should have been more specific about the numbers of overdoses, “it’s important that we got the message out there,” which included available resources and encouraged parents to talk to the kids about the dangers of fentanyl.

Chapman, a Republican running for re-election in next week’s elections, and Youngkin have both made parental rights in education a theme in their campaigns.

Youngkin, in issuing his executive order Wednesday night, sent out a press release saying, “While the Loudoun County Public School division reportedly waited more than twenty days to notify parents to the overdose incidents, Governor Youngkin is taking immediate action to enhance prompt parental notification.”

“Parents have a right to know what’s going on in their child’s lives, especially in schools. Overdoses that occur on school grounds or are connected to the school must lead to an immediate parental notification,” Youngkin said in he release. “School administrators’ first instinct when there is a problem cannot be to delay relevant information on critical children’s health and safety matters.”

In a phone interview, Chapman said that Park View now accounts for 11 of the 19 school-related overdoses the county has seen this year, most of them occurring in the last few weeks.

This is not the first time that Loudoun County schools have found themselves the subject of criticism from Youngkin and Republicans in an election season. Two years ago, as Youngkin campaigned for governor, he criticized the school system’s response to a boy who had assaulted a girl in a school bathroom, only to be transferred to another school where another assault occurred.

___

Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin contributed to this report from Richmond.

United States News

Alito...

Associated Press

Alito rejects calls to quit Supreme Court cases on Trump and Jan. 6 because of flag controversies

Justice Samuel Alito is rejecting calls to step aside from Supreme Court cases involving former President Donald Trump and Jan. 6 defendants, saying his wife hoisted the two controversial flags that flew above their homes.

18 minutes ago

Nissan...

Associated Press

Nissan warns owners of older vehicles about risk of exploding air bag inflators

Nissan is urging the owners of about 84,000 older vehicles to stop driving them because their Takata air bag inflators have an increased risk of exploding in a crash and hurling dangerous metal fragments.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Seattle police chief dismissed from top job amid discrimination, harassment lawsuits

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday. Harrell said at a news conference that he met with Police Chief Adrian Diaz on Tuesday and they agreed Diaz should step down. He will work on special assignments for the mayor with the police department, Harrell said. Diaz’s departure […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Disneyland performers’ vote to unionize is certified by federal labor officials

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Character and parade performers at Disneyland in California are officially unionized. Federal labor officials said Wednesday that they’ve certified the results of a three-day election that took place earlier this month in Anaheim. Actors’ Equity Association will represent roughly 1,700 performers and assistants who help bring Disney’s popular characters to life […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Michigan willing to spend millions to restore Flint properties ripped up by pipe replacement

DETROIT (AP) — The state of Michigan said it’s willing to step in and oversee property repairs at 1,900 homes in Flint where water pipes have been inspected or replaced but the grounds remain a mess. The city in March was found in civil contempt by a judge after blowing past deadlines to get the […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Massachusetts fugitive dubbed the ‘bad breath rapist’ captured in California after 16 years at large

DANVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A fugitive dubbed the “bad breath rapist” has been arrested in the San Francisco Bay Area more than 16 years after he fled following his conviction for sexually assaulting a coworker in Massachusetts, authorities said this week. Tuen Kit Lee was found guilty at a 2007 trial of the kidnapping and […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Virginia governor orders schools to disclose details of school-related drug overdoses