The parents of a 12-year-old Dodson Middle School student who collapsed in 2018 while running at school and later died are suing Los Angeles Unified, alleging insufficient live-saving measures were taken by employees of the Rancho Palos Verdes school on the student’s behalf.
The wrongful death suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit Friday on behalf of Festus Onuwa Alagba and Clara Alagba seeks unspecified damages.
An LAUSD representative issued a statement on April 1, 2019 regarding the lawsuit.
“The safety and well-being of our students continues to be a top priority,” the statement read. “Death or injury to a student under any circumstances is one of the most difficult, unfortunate occurrences to encounter. Because of student privacy laws and pending litigation, we are not at liberty to comment on this matter. Our thoughts are with the family and school community.”
According to the lawsuit, the boy was told to run five laps around the school field in his physical education class on March 6, 2018, even though he told his teacher he had the flu and could not participate. The child — identified only as F.A. in court papers — informed his teacher after the third lap that he was tired and could not continue, but he was ordered to keep running, the suit alleges.
The boy collapsed on the fourth lap and remained unattended “for a substantial amount of time until it became clear to the teacher that (the boy) was not playing pranks,” the suit states.
The child was not given CPR until paramedics arrived, and he was pronounced dead about 1:55 p.m. at Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, the suit states. An autopsy report showed he died from cardiac arrest with viral infection as a contributing factor, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs believe the school staff had an automated external defibrillator in or near the main office, but it was not used to help their son.
“It was only until (after) paramedics arrived on the scene that an AED was deployed on F.A., who was already pulseless and unconscious,” according to the suit.