MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — On Tuesday MCPS officials reported a student at John F. Kennedy High School had a “medical emergency,” but Montgomery County Police say they responded to the report of a student who may have overdosed.
“I am writing to inform you about an incident that occurred at school on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, and how we addressed it. At approximately 11:55 a.m., we were notified that one of our students was having a medical emergency. Our health room staff assessed the student and emergency services were notified. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue and Montgomery County Police responded to our school immediately. Parents were contacted and the student was transported to the hospital. During this time, classes continued as scheduled and the building was in normal operations.”In a letter sent to parents Tuesday by JFK Principal, Dr. Joe L. Rubens
This incident comes a day after two girls were reportedly found drunk and unconscious in a bathroom at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School. Less than a week after MCPS held an emergency meeting about fentanyl and overdoses.
According to data shared at the meeting, in 2021, there were five fatal overdoses of people under the age of 21. Last year, that increased to 11. With this rise in young people overdosing parents such as Dawn Iannaco-Hahn are asking for more transparency in the reporting of medical emergencies.
“It’s almost like people are afraid to talk about it, and like if they talk about it, it’s going to cause more problems…when it’s actually the opposite,” said Iannaco-Hahn.
During the meeting, Chief Marcus Jones said most overdoses do not happen on school grounds, but there have been incidents where Narcan has had to be administered. He also shared the meeting was held after a 15-year-old Kennedy High School student died over the weekend from an overdose.
“Accessibility is in the school community, ” said Chief Jones. “And people, young people are feeling emboldened enough to utilize these drugs during the school day, that sometimes are causing these overdoses.”
MCPS says they cannot share the specifics of medical emergencies as it is a matter of student privacy. MCPS communications team went on to explain that even when a school nurse administers Narcan based on symptoms they don’t know what the student ingested until a toxicology report is completed. Even then– they won’t update the school community that it was an overdose, but it will be a part of county data.
“I understand student privacy,” said Iannaco-Hahn. “We don’t have to release the student’s name, which of course we would never release the student’s name, but we should be understanding what’s going on because then what happens is the rumors start.”
This weekend MCPS is hosting a forum for families about fentanyl and Narcan training this Saturday, January 28th at Clarksburg High School.