HAYS COUNTY, Texas — Over the past weekend, a 15-year-old Hays CISD high school student died from a suspected fentanyl overdose in San Marcos, according to Hays CISD. The student was a sophomore.
The 15-year-old's death marks the third suspected fentanyl overdose death involving a Hays CISD student in the past month, the district said.
In late July and early August, two 17-year-old students died in two separate incidents at their homes in Kyle, Hays CISD said. They would have been seniors in high school. The three students who died attended, or would have attended, Johnson and Lehman High Schools. Their identities were not shared by the school district.
The school district said that since last May, all three Hays CISD high schools have been affected by students who have experienced life-threatening fentanyl overdoses, both on campus and at home. Those incidents didn't result in deaths, the district said.
“I’m worried. We take all safety and security issues very seriously, but this one is especially concerning. So far – and I am deeply grateful – we haven’t lost a single student to COVID or gun violence on our campuses. Both of these issues have rightfully been pressing matters the past couple of years. We must treat the fentanyl crisis with the same urgency,” said Hays CISD Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright in an email to parents.
The Kyle Police Department and Hays CISD alerted parents of fentanyl dangers last week before the start of the new school year. KPD shared a Facebook post, reshared by Hays CISD in a back-to-school email, showing photographs of one type of counterfeit pill believed to have caused many of the recent fentanyl incidents in the Kyle area.
“Kyle PD has responded to at least 16 related overdoses with 7 of those resulting in death in 2022. Many of these overdoses, including some deaths, are teenagers ranging from 14-18 years old. Parents - please talk to your children about the dangers of taking any pills that are not prescribed to them by a doctor,” said KPD Chief Jeff Barnett in the post.
Hays CISD officials and Kyle police addressed the media about these incidents Wednesday morning. They urged parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of taking any pills at school or off campus.
District officials said counterfeit pills have threatened the lives of multiple students.
Jeri Skrocki, the Hays CISD head of district safety and security, said school resource officers and student clinics have Narcan available to treat overdoses. Hays County medics said they carry more Narcan because fentanyl is so strong.
Skrocki said the district is working with police and medics to raise awareness to prevent more of these tragedies.
"We really try to get these children, our students, to understand the risks, the dangers and the warning signs and really what they can do if they experience it, what options are available for them," Skrocki said.
Barnett said kids should be wary of any sort of pills not prescribed by a doctor. He said this issue has really shaken the community.
"It is heart-wrenching to see these parents in agony in the front yard of their own home where they've just discovered their teenager deceased in a bedroom. It's heart-wrenching," Barnett said.
Jim Swisher, the assistant chief of San Marcos-Hays County EMS said that to fight this problem, they need the community to step up.
"The fix to the problem, it's not all the stuff that we can do on the top side. Some is going to have to come from the kids making a conscious decision or moral decision to get involved with their friends and deter their friends," Swisher said.
Watch that full briefing below:
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