PHOENIX (CN) – Parents say their fifth-grade son collapsed and died after a P.E. class at his elementary school that made him run outside in 106-degree weather.
Joel Burgos and Karla Anchondo say Cartwright School District and the G. Frank Davidson Elementary School “knew or should have known that allowing children to engage in vigorous physical activity such as the Gauntlet would expose the children to the forcible risk of harm.”
The Gauntlet was a “running and throwing exercise where half the students ran down a lane bordered by cones, while the other half of the students attempted to hit them with foam balls,” according to the complaint in Maricopa County Court.
The parents say their 10-year-old son, Bryan Anchondo Burgos, was assigned to the running team, and collapsed while running and fell into the grass.
The two P.E. instructors supervising the group of 50 students “were oblivious to his plight” until students told instructor Catherine Reiter that Bryan was “lying face down in the grass crying and in need of help,” the complaint states.
Instead of performing CPR or calling 911, Reiter called the other instructor, Brian Balog, to look at Bryan, his parents claim. By that time, “Bryan had ceased crying, his respiration rate had dropped and he was non-responsive.”
The P.E. teachers are not defendants in this case.
The first call to 911 was placed at 11:41 a.m., and the caller allegedly told the operator that a student had “passed out” on the playground. The second call was placed at 11:52 a.m. and the caller told the operator that the student “was non-responsive,” according to the complaint.
The parents say the EMTs were “instructed to come to the officer and not to go directly to Bryan in the school yard.” When the EMTs did arrive, they “recognized instantly that this was a dire situation and they complained about the delay in allowing them access to Bryan,” his parents say.
Bryan was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, but could not be revived. His parents say the risk of harm was “enhanced by the fact that this was the beginning of the school year, the children had not been actively working out or training that summer, were poorly hydrated and generally not prepared for stringent activity of the type required to participate in the Gauntlet.”
They seek damages for wrongful death and negligence. They are represented by Nicholas Alcock.