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NEW: Overdose reports at Wakefield prompt emergency response

Wakefield High School (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Three days into the school year, Wakefield High School has logged a potential student overdose.

Medics were dispatched to the school at 11:30 a.m. and again about 45 minutes later for two students suffering possible drug overdoses — or, at least, the effects of suspected narcotics — according to scanner traffic.

Later this afternoon, ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow that a “juvenile male was transported to an area hospital in non-life threatening condition.”

Police also responded to the school to investigate and are looking into the incident “as an apparent overdose and the investigation,” she said.

In an email, Wakefield Principal Pete Balas assured families that students were safe during the ordeal, which he described as a “medical incident” involving a student.

The full email is as follows:

Dear Families,

Emergency personnel responded to Wakefield this morning to assist with a medical incident involving a student. Fortunately, everyone is safe, and they were able to work with our staff to address the situation. At no point was the safety of any students or staff compromised.

As some of our students observed the first responders in our building, I wanted to ensure you are aware that the incident was resolved, and everyone is safe.

Pete Balas,

A student died earlier this year at Wakefield from an overdose, followed by more dispatches for substance-abuse related emergencies at the school and near Washington-Liberty High School.

The student’s death, followed by a parent march and outcry for more support from teachers, prompted the Arlington School Board and administrators to act.

The school system allowed students to bring the opioid-reversal drug Narcan to school and budgeted for new deans and more substance-abuse counselors. These and other measures are part of a system-wide focus on increasing student well-being, particularly at the secondary level, this year.

Wakefield’s former principal, Chris Willmore, was promoted this spring to be the director of secondary education for Arlington Public Schools. One month later, Balas, who previously led Alexandria City High School, emerged as his replacement.

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