Fox News reported last week that seven students at Park View High in Loudoun County overdosed in opioid-related incidents, all within three weeks of each other.
Authorities are warning that all the overdoses appear to involve deadly fentanyl. The drug is commonly disguised as blue oxycodone pills that may have "M 30" stamped on them.
The lack of urgency by Loudoun County Schools after the overdoses did not go unnoticed by the county sheriff, Mike Chapman. In an email to Superintendent Aaron Spence, the sheriff said the school released a “very vague” and “evasive” message to parents after the overdoses.
“There is nothing that specifically addresses the crisis you and I discussed last week and a short time ago regarding Parkview HS,” Chapman wrote. “I believe parents, students and residents of Sterling need to know what is actually occurring.”
The email was obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.
Loudoun County Schools is infamous for a previous superintendent, Scott Ziegler. In an effort to maintain a transgender-friendly policy, Ziegler did not inform parents after a male student physically assaulted a female student in a restroom. Even after that attack, the male student was transferred to a second high school where a second female student was assaulted.
Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, says it's devastating that the drug overdose is happening to kids.
"More devastating,” she adds, “is the fact that the governing officials in that school did not think parents needed to know instantly that this is happening in their kids' area."
Dr. Spence, the superintendent, told Fox News last week that parents have now received “information and resources” about the opioid danger, especially the danger of fentanyl. It is unclear how much time elapsed, however, since the email from the sheriff.
Cobb credits Gov. Glenn Youngkin for signing an executive order November 1 ordering public schools to immediately alert parents of a drug overdose in their child’s school.
Youngkin accused the school district of waiting 20 days before parents were notified of the overdoses.
“The fact that it took a governor's executive order to demand that schools do a better job informing parents of drug overdose in their community is stunning,” Cobb tells AFN.
Law enforcement has investigated 18 reports of opioid overdoses involving minors in Loudoun County in 2023 according to Fox News.