Teen dies after suspected overdose at Arlington high school

A teen who authorities believed overdosed in an Arlington County, Virginia, high school bathroom earlier this week has died, police said.

The teenager died in the hospital Thursday, police said. Investigators are now conducting a death investigation and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will determine the cause and manner of the teen’s death.

Ashley Savage, a spokeswoman with Arlington County police, said the department would not identify the student because he was a juvenile.

Frank Bellavia, a school system spokesman, said school officials had not received consent from the student’s family to release his name.

In remarks during an Arlington County School board meeting Thursday night, Wakefield PTSA President Judith Davis, who is also a parent at the school, identified the teen as Sergio Flores.

Referencing the opioid crisis, she said, “Every single one of you in this room has been told by parents, teachers, students PTSAs, community leaders that we will have someone die at Wakefield. Every single one of you knew this day would come. Say his name: Sergio Flores. He died. This kid is not going back to his family.”

A GoFundMe page has also been set up by a person who identified herself as a cousin, seeking donations for a funeral.

2 lockdowns this week

Classes at Wakefield High School were already canceled Friday following two lockdowns at the school this week — one sparked by the suspected drug overdose on Tuesday and the other by a report of a trespasser in the school on Thursday.

In the earlier incident, officials said the teen was found unresponsive inside a Wakefield bathroom, and it appeared he had overdose. Medics evaluated four other young people at the scene.

The school was placed on lockdown, then dismissed students early and canceled all after-school and evening activities.

Then on Thursday, Arlington County Police said they received a call around noon about someone trespassing, and the school went into lockdown for about three hours. After police determined the trespasser was not on school property, the lockdown was lifted and students left at the normal dismissal time.

Local news outlet WUSA9 reported that police carried long guns and entered a classroom during the lockdown.

In the wake of both incidents at Wakefield, Arlington Public Schools canceled instruction entirely Friday. The school system said Thursday night that the building would be open to provide counseling and support for students and staff who need help processing either incident.

During Thursday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Francisco Durán said the news from Wakefield is “devastating” and asked the school community to have “a sense of urgency” to keep students from opioids and drugs. In addition, he said that school staff should call 911 if there is a threat of violence or any danger toward safety in their building.

“There is no single measure that will prevent 100% of all the threats from occurring,” Durán said. “But we have to keep working together and be vigilant and reporting any and all concerning behaviors right away.”

In the next month, the school system plans to hold community conversations about opioids at its high schools, Durán said. In addition, the school system has begun a video and social media campaign with its students on identifying opioids and the dangers involved in using them.

During the budget process, Arlington Public School will look to add more funds for additional substance abuse counselors and expand the availability of naloxone in schools, the superintendent said.

However, Julio Basurto, a member of the community advocacy group Juntos En Justicia, told WTOP that parents have been warning police about issues, such as addiction at the school.

“We’ve been speaking about this for over a year,” Basurto said. “There are things that can be done now, such as security, stepping up a little bit of security in the schools, making sure we’re monitoring the bathrooms, making sure we know who’s coming into the building.”

Basurto said parents are holding a silent march Friday to show support for students and staff.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman, Abigail Constantino and Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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