KEY POINTS

  • Three students were hospitalized after the Thursday morning incident, one being in 'grave condition'
  • Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford implemented a 'Code Yellow' status through 2 p.m.
  • Friday classes have been canceled for testing and cleaning purposes

A 13-year-old student is in “grave condition” after he appeared to have been exposed to fentanyl at a Connecticut middle school Thursday morning, officials said. Two other seventh graders were also hospitalized after the supposed exposure and the school was locked down.

The boy in severe condition collapsed in the gymnasium during a class at Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford and became unresponsive, but Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez said “it is believed that the student ingested something in the classroom,” NBC News reported.

State Police, school police, and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigated the premises after it was locked down. Sniffing dogs were deployed and found multiple bags containing fentanyl, according to an initial analysis.

After the boy collapsed, a school nurse initiated CPR before staff from the local fire department took over. The two seventh-grade students were brought to the hospital for monitoring as the said students spent time with the 13-year-old boy in a classroom.

Officials said the two other students were in a classroom on a different side of the school when the teen collapsed. One teacher suffered a panic attack during the incident and was offered support.

The incident prompted a “Code Yellow” alert that remained in place through 2 p.m. Student buses only began leaving the campus at around 3.30 p.m.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the recent incident should teach a lesson to the community about the dangers of fentanyl, The Hartford Courant reported. “This is one more lesson that fentanyl is a poison. These drugs are a poison. And please, if you’re a parent, have that tough conversation with your child tonight,” he said.

Officials clarified that it was not immediately clear whether the exposure was intentional or if the other two hospitalized students ingested the drug.

The school announced the cancelation of classes Friday, WVIT reporter Matt Austin said. According to him, the school principal said “testing and cleaning could take several days.” The school has also opened its doors for counseling both virtually and in person. For in-person counseling, students and parents have been directed to go to the Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fentanyl, a strong synthetic opiate, can cause respiratory problems. Without an immediate administration of opioid antidote Narcan, the substance can cause death. The DEA said fentanyl can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Deaths related to the drug make up about 75% of drug overdose deaths in the United States.

A packet of fentanyl seized at California's San Ysidro border post on October 2, 2019 Sabrina Thalblum admitted to tampering with fentanyl vials at the surgery center she worked for to feed her addiction, officials said. In photo: a packet of fentanyl seized at California's San Ysidro border post on October 2, 2019 Photo: AFP / SANDY HUFFAKER