Daily Press (Sunday)

Youngkin orders schools to provide overdose details

Ex-Virginia Beach leader responds in Loudoun County

- By Matthew Barakat AP writer Sarah Rankin contribute­d.

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

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 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 working with the sheriff’s office to combat the problem.

Chapman said deputies had been in touch with school officials, and had been under the impression that the school system would notify parents what was happening. Park View’s principal sent out a note Tuesday that genericall­y detailed the dangers of fentanyl, 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. Later that day, the sheriff ’s office sent its own email specifying that his office is investigat­ing at least eight opioid-related overdoses of Park View students, including seven in the past three weeks.

In an email obtained by 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,” Chapman wrote. “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.”

Spence, who served as superinten­dent of Virginia Beach public schools for nine years before leaving this summer, said the school system shied away from using specific numbers for privacy issues and because it lacked 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. Spence added 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.

Youngkin, in issuing his executive order Wednesday night, sent out a 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. School administra­tors’ first instinct when there is a problem cannot be to delay relevant informatio­n on critical children’s health and safety matters.”

 ?? STAFF FILE ?? Former Virginia Beach Superinten­dent Aaron Spence, who now holds the same post in Loudoun Conty, said Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s orderl require an exploratio­n of privacy issues.
STAFF FILE Former Virginia Beach Superinten­dent Aaron Spence, who now holds the same post in Loudoun Conty, said Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s orderl require an exploratio­n of privacy issues.
 ?? ?? Youngkin

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States