An art teacher in a suburban New Jersey middle school was arrested after overdosing in front of students.
The teacher, Frank Thompson, 57, taught 6th, 7th, and 8th grade art at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield, NJ. He was found unconscious in his classroom at about 9 am on November 29.
A school administrator called the school resource officer, Fortunato Riga, after witnessing Frank Thompson “in distress” by students, Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said.
A school nurse was currently treating Thompson on the floor when Riga arrived. Thompson was found “unconscious and unresponsive” on the ground, Riga reported the incident to the police.
Riga immediately recognized the signs the teacher was experiencing and believed he was overdosing from drugs. The school resource officer administered naloxone hydrochloride, also known under the brand name Narcan, that he was carrying with him.
According to police, after Thompson was administered the Narcan, he showed signs of improvement quickly.
A further investigation found both fentanyl and paraphernalia in a classroom closet.
According to the school district, the classroom has been sanitized.
Thompson was charged on Thursday, January 5, with multiple charges, including possession of a controlled, dangerous substance, drug paraphernalia, endangering the welfare of children, and disorderly conduct.
“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,” District Superintendent Dr. Raymond González stated. “We are grateful for our strong partnership with the Westfield Police Department.”