The family of a 12-year-old boy who died after collapsing during a physical education class in the scorching heat said his teacher ignored him when he pleaded for a drink of water before his death.
According to NBC Los Angeles, Yahshua Robinson was outside with his classmates at Canyon Lake Middle School in Lake Elsinore, California. The students participated in P.E. class outdoors as the temperature reached the low-to-mid 90s.
The young boy reportedly passed out on Tuesday due to the scorching heat and was taken to a nearby hospital around 11 a.m., per the outlet. Robinson wasn’t “dressed appropriately” for P.E. class and was punished by being forced to run for not having proper attire.
Family members say a teacher ignored a 12-year-old boy's pleas for help before he died after being forced to run during sweltering heat at Canyon Lake Middle School. https://t.co/v3y3ui1EMY
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) August 31, 2023
His aunt, Amarna Plummer, said several students recalled Robinson feeling ill after running, and she said the teacher ignored his plea for help.
“He was reaching out to the teacher, saying he needed some water. He said he couldn’t breathe. He was telling the kids this,” Plummer said, according to NBC Los Angeles.
The 12-year-old’s condition worsened, and he collapsed on the field. Emergency responders arrived at the scene and transported Robinson to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Plummer demanded answers from school officials after the teacher made her nephew run in the scorching heat as a punishment for not wearing his P.E. clothes.
“Why would you have a child in his clothes — he didn’t dress out — running a field?” Plummer said.
Plummer said Robinson’s mother is a P.E. instructor at another school in the district. Plummer said her sister had previously warned the school’s administration about having children engaging in outside activities during high temperatures.
“She informs the administration, ‘Do not let any children go out today for P.E.’ And what happened? She gets a call he passed out on the field,” Plummer said.
The district released a statement following the devastating news. It referred to Robinson as “one of our students” who died “due to a medical emergency at one of our LEUSD campuses,” NBC Los Angeles reported. They’re also offering grief and counselor services for students.
For Plummer, she demands justice for her nephew and wants the school to be held accountable for his death.
“This is terrible. It happened on somebody else’s watch,” she said.