Family of Adilene Carrasco
A California school district in San Bernardino County has agreed to pay $15.75 million to the mother of a 13-year-old child who died at school due to an asthma attack, the mother's attorneys confirm to PEOPLE.
A lawsuit filed in 2020 by Edith Sepulveda alleged that her daughter Adilene Carrasco "suffered a fatal asthma attack" in October 2019 at Mesa View Middle School due to the school's negligence. The school is part of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District.
Per the lawsuit, Carrasco had a history of asthma attacks at school, and that information was logged in a student electronic database that teachers had to review at the beginning of the school year.
However, the lawsuit claims that Carrasco's science teacher did not review it and asked all the students to walk from the classroom to the upper athletic field — a 366-yard distance or the equivalent of three football fields — for a Halloween "pumpkin chuckin" contest.
Family of Adilene Carrasco
When Carrasco arrived at the field, she had difficulty breathing and asked her teacher if she would be able to go back to the classroom and get her inhaler, according to court documents. She walked all the way back to the classroom with a friend and retrieved her inhaler, but "it did not help her feel any better."
Carrasco made her way back to the field where her class was and asked to go to the nurse's office because she hadn't been feeling well. While heading back, a campus monitor noticed her weakened condition and drove her to the nurse's office "in respiratory distress." After Carrasco arrived at the nurse's office, she fell unconscious and went into cardiac arrest.
Carrasco was transferred to the hospital and died nine days later, per the lawsuit.
"You know, we send our kids to school, and they are supposed to give them back to us, and I didn't get her back," Sepulveda said in an interview with KCBS-TV.
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"Adilene's death was a preventable tragedy that resonates and reaffirms the fear of every parent and caregiver of an asthmatic child," Sepulveda's attorney Robert Glassman said in a statement.
In addition to the monetary settlement, the school district has also agreed to partner with asthma experts in the area to provide asthma management training to its teachers and staff, adopt the California School Board Association's best practices on school-based asthma management and change its protocols for handling students with medical conditions.