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A Vancouver teen died after a fentanyl overdose at school, but the district didn't tell parents or police what happened

KGW used public records and conversations with the student’s family to piece together what happened in a high school bathroom, and why it wasn't shared

Evan Watson

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Published: 7:00 AM PST December 8, 2022
Updated: 8:14 PM PST December 9, 2022

On May 3, 2022, just after 8 a.m., a staff member at Hudson’s Bay High School in Vancouver, Wash. called 911.

"I need an ambulance immediately, I’ve got a student overdosing in the bathroom,” she said. “I have multiple administrators, district resource officers, and a nurse with the student at this time. I believe they are administering Narcan."

School officials had found a 16-year-old girl unresponsive in a bathroom stall.

The school was placed on lockdown. A district resource officer wrote in a report that they found burnt tin foil and blue pills, likely fentanyl, on the girl’s clothes.

A school nurse and a medical responder both used Narcan – a brand of naloxone, an opioid reversal medication – to try and save the girl’s life.

Credit: Evan Watson (KGW)
Hudson's Bay High School staff members and emergency responders both administered a dose of Narcan - an opioid reversal medication nasal spray - in a high school bathroom.

She was rushed to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and later transferred to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, where she died six days later.

Even though the overdose occurred on school grounds, the Vancouver School District never told families or staff that fentanyl was found in the bathroom, or that the girl died of a fentanyl overdose.

Vancouver Police were not called to investigate the overdose and student’s death, and even now – seven months later – most people don’t know about it.

For months, KGW has used public records and conversations with the student’s family to piece together what happened in that high school bathroom and examine the impact of the school district’s decision to not publicize news of the overdose or call police.

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