WESTFIELD, N.J. – An art teacher at a New Jersey school is accused of overdosing on fentanyl in front of his students in November, prosecutors said.
Frank Thompson, 57, was charged Wednesday with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of children, according to MyCentralJersey.com.
At about 9:06 a.m. EST on Nov. 29, the Westfield Police Department received a report from Roosevelt Intermediate School’s resource officer, of an unconscious teacher on the school’s second floor, according to Police Chief Christopher Battiloro. The resource officer, Fortunata Riga, had been alerted to the situation by a school administrator, MyCentralJersey.com reported.
A school nurse was actively treating Thompson in front of students when officers arrive, WNYW-TV reported. An officer administered Narcan on the teacher, who began showing signs of improvement, according to the television station.
All Westfield Police officers, including school resource officers, carry Narcan to revive overdose victims, according to MyCentralJersey.com. Officers administered it to suspected drug overdose victims 13 times in 2022, Battiloro said.
Police later found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the classroom closet, News12 New Jersey reported.
“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,” Superintendent Raymond González said in a statement. “We are grateful for our strong partnership with the Westfield Police Department.”
In a note to parents, school district officials said the classroom was sealed off and then sanitized, WNYW reported.
Classes were temporarily moved to an alternate location, and a former teacher took over the classroom, according to the television station.
Thompson is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Feb. 1, MyCentralJersey.com reported.
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