Jeffco Public Schools: ‘We are not in the business of publicizing’
FLORIDA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Ga.
— Jeffco Public School District officials are warning that public records laws prohibit them from releasing the names of the parents of a 14-year-old boy who died from an apparent overdose at the school last year.
The boy’s family, who asked that their names not be published, filed a lawsuit last month alleging that school officials failed to adequately provide for the boy’s care after his mother went to the hospital for treatment.
Jeffcom Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Bowers told The Associated Press last week that he’s unaware of the lawsuit, but that school administrators have a policy that they’re not to publicly disclose information related to the boy.
Bowers said school officials had no idea about the boy, whom they have been in contact with since the boy was hospitalized last year for a rare, life-threatening form of pneumonia.
“We are certainly not in a business of publicly releasing the name of a parent,” he said.
In January, Jeffco Police Chief Chris Rios was suspended after he was arrested and charged with criminal contempt after he posted a video on social media of a police officer threatening to arrest a woman who he said had stolen his wallet and was threatening to use his car to rob him.
At the time, the video sparked widespread outrage, prompting Rios to step down as superintendent and fire the police chief.
A school district spokesman declined to comment on Bowers’ statement to the AP.
Cameron Stokes, a lawyer representing the family, said Friday that he believes school officials should have done more to help the boy after he had an overdose last May.
They didn’t have enough staff to provide a safe environment for him to recover and then put him in a medically induced coma, he said, and they didn’t want to be held responsible for his death.
He added that the school district is working with the coroner to find out what caused the boy to die, but said he has no indication of when or how the school will provide answers.
Read more on Jeffco school district:The lawsuit was filed by the family of Michael McHenry, who died of pneumonia last April.
The family alleged that school staff failed to protect McHenry after he collapsed and later died.