New Jersey

NJ Art Teacher Overdoses on Fentanyl in Front of Middle School Students

Frank Thompson, 57, was found "unconscious and unresponsive on the classroom floor" at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield

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An art teacher at a New Jersey middle school has been arrested after he overdosed on fentanyl in front of students mid-class, police said.

Frank Thompson, 57, was charged last week with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of children, in connection to the November incident.

According to the Westfield Police Department, a resource officer at Roosevelt Intermediate School reported that Thompson was unconscious and unresponsive in a second-floor classroom after students found the art teacher "in distress" just after 9 a.m. on Nov. 29.

A school nurse was treating Thompson when officers arrived, police said.

Roosevelt’s school resource officer, Fortunato Riga, "observed signs indicative of a drug overdose" and administered naloxone hydrochloride, the opioid overdose treatment also known as “Narcan."

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Investigators searched the classroom and found fentanyl and "various types of drug paraphernalia" in a closet, police said.

While the incident took place in November, Thompson was not charged until Jan. 5, 2023. It is not clear whether he is still employed by the Westfield Public School District.

“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 Dr. Raymond González said in a statement. “We are grateful for our strong partnership with the Westfield Police Department.”

Thompson is due in court on Feb. 1. There was no attorney information listed for Thompson to comment on his behalf.

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