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13-year-old dies after choking on lunch in school cafeteria

School Lunch
(AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

CHESTERFIELD, VA– The parents of a 13-year-old boy are reporting that their son has died after choking on lunch inside of his school’s cafeteria.  

Josué Nolasco died over the weekend after being rushed from his middle school to Richmond hospital on Wednesday, Feb. 15. 

According to McClatchy News, Nolasco’s mother told them that the teen’s father received a call from Providence Middle School saying that his son was rushed to the hospital after suffering a medical emergency. The father rushed to the hospital from work and then called the child’s mother when he was told that the situation was dire. 

The family was initially told by medical staff that the teen choked on a meatball at lunch and that “his brain spent 20 minutes without oxygen.”

After the hospital staff conducted more tests, they found that the teen was deprived of oxygen for at least 40 minutes. 

The family is now looking for more answers as to what happened.

The day of the incident, Providence Middle School, sent out this message to parents:

“I want to share with you that a student required medical attention during lunch today. I would like to commend our students for their behavior during this time, and I hope that you will share with them tonight how proud we are of them.

While the school schedule for the rest of the day will continue as planned, as always, our school counseling team is available to assist students and staff. Please do not hesitate to let us know if your child has concerns upon returning home today.”

They also reported that the school’s resource officer rendered aid to the student until Chesterfield Fire and EMS arrived. 

Officials went on to provide a timeline of the events to NBC 12 as they occurred: 

  • Dispatch: 11:15
  • Enroute: 11:16
  • On Scene: 11:20
  • Patient Contact: 11:21
  • Transport to ER: 11:29
  • At Hospital: 11:35

The teen’s parents say that they don’t blame anyone for what happened but they do want answers so that they can prevent this from happening to anyone else: 

“We want to avoid this happening in other schools and that no parents have to go through what we’re going through,” said Karina Nolasco.

Since learning of the teen’s death, the middle school has updated their response and offered services to those who may need it: 

“Good Evening Providence Middle School Families, I apologize for interrupting your evening, but have some important news to share and an important ask to make of you tonight. I am sad to share that we have learned that a 7th grade student, Josue Chavez Nolasco, has passed away. His parents shared this with us today and asked that I share this with you. We will keep the family in our thoughts during this difficult time. If this is a discussion that you would like to have with your child in your home tonight, we want to be supportive of the conversation as you talk with your child to reassure and support them as part of the grieving process. Attached are some materials that we use during times of grief. Please review these documents and use them as necessary with your child. We will have student support services staff members available at school tomorrow to assist students. Please call the school in the morning or email me tonight if you have updates about your child that we should be aware of for Wednesday.”