A 5-year-old Connecticut boy died during recess after nearby teachers ignored him, believing he was pretending to “play dead,” according to a new lawsuit.
In court documents, the bereaved parents of little Romeo Pierre-Louis in West Hartford claim that their son died at the Charter Oak International Academy in April 2022 as a result of the school and town’s negligence.
According to the Hartford Courant, Romeo was lying on the ground for nearly 10 minutes without receiving medical attention, despite the fact that several teachers were nearby.
Several of Romeo’s classmates told teachers about his collapse, but the teachers assumed he was playing a game the kids called “play dead,” according to the lawsuit.
According to a police report, the children were known to play this game during recess.
According to the lawsuit, it was too late to save Romeo once his teachers realized he needed medical help.
The state medical examiner classified his death as “cardiac channelopathy, brugada syndrome (scn5a variant),” and the manner of his death was “natural,” implying that no further investigation would be conducted.
The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, exactly one year after the 5-year-old died. On the same day, family members dressed in white and gathered at the playground where Romeo collapsed.
Attendees brought flowers and signs to the location where Romeo had been performing prior to the tragedy. His relatives remembered him fondly as a young boy who loved God and his family. Kin also showed videos of himself reciting Bible verses and The Lord’s Prayer.
D’Meza Shultz Pierre Louis, the boy’s father, led the group in The Lord’s Prayer, which he said was one of his son’s favorite recitations.
“We are aware that nothing can bring our son back. All we can do is keep his memory alive in our hearts and do everything we can to prevent this from happening to another child. During the vigil, Romeo’s mother Chantel said, “Listen to our children.”
Taty Pierre Louis, Romeo’s older sister, remembered her brother as her “mini me.”
“He was a very open, lovable little boy.” Full of energy, devoted to his family, loving, and always seeking attention. He is a huge fan of superheroes. And I feel like he was our superhero in a way,” she said.
In response to the lawsuit, West Hartford Acting Superintendent Andy Morrow told the Courant said he and district officials have Romeo in their thoughts.
“This tragedy has had a profound impact on the Charter Oak International Academy community, and the school district continues to provide grief support and emotional support to any student or educator who requires it.” “The school district will refrain from further comment due to the pending legal claims,” Morrow said in a statement.
West Hartford Corporation Counsel Dallas Dodge stated that due to the legal process, the town and board of education will make no further comment other than to express their condolences to the family.