In Westfield, New Jersey at Roosevelt Intermediate School 57-year-old Frank Thompson was found unconscious, non-responsive, prone on the floor of his classroom, and overdosed on fentanyl shortly after 9 a.m. November 29th. A school nurse and School Resource Officer, Fortunato Riga treated him with Narcan and likely saved his life. The former teacher has since lost his position and now faces serious charges.
According to Fox 5 New York, police said they found fentanyl and drug paraphernalia in the classroom's closet. This makes it clear that the former teacher was not only using drugs on school grounds, but was storing lethal fentanyl within mere feet of students, even minuscule amounts of the drug in its pure form can, and often does: kill.
Westfield Police said in a statement, “Officer Riga arrived to find Frank Thompson, an Art teacher, unconscious and unresponsive on the classroom floor. Thompson was discovered and observed in distress by students and was actively being treated by a school nurse.”
Westfield PD detailed Thompson's charges in the statement,
“Following an investigation of this incident, a quantity of a suspected controlled dangerous substance and various items of drug paraphernalia were located in a closet in the classroom. Thompson was charged on January 5, 2023, with the following:
– Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (fentanyl), 2C:35-10A(1), a crime of the third degree;
– Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, 2C:36-2, a disorderly person offense;
– Endangering Welfare of Children, 2C:24-4A(2), crime of the third degree”
“In this case, the swift actions of Officer Riga, who is on-site at Roosevelt Intermediate each school day, proved instrumental in maintaining the safety of the students and administering potentially life-saving measures to Mr. Thompson,” Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said in the statement.
Frank Thompson, 57, was arrested on Thursday after overdosing on fentanyl at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield, New Jersey
— B Gallagher (@Gally66kg) January 9, 2023
Westfield Public School District Superintendent Dr. Raymond González said, “While the Westfield Public School District cannot comment on personnel matters which are confidential, we will maintain a continued focus on student and staff safety and on preserving the integrity of the classroom learning environment,” according to The New York Post. He added, “We are grateful for our strong partnership with the Westfield Police Department.”
Fox 5 reported that parents were notified of the incident and informed that the classroom was sealed off and then sanitized with classes moved to an alternate location and a former teacher was brought back in to maintain continuity of instruction.
Thompson is scheduled to turn himself over to the police for processing on February 1st.