A 12-year-old California boy died of cardiac arrest Tuesday after collapsing at his school.
Yahshua Robinson was participating in a physical education activity when he collapsed at Canyon Lake Middle School, according to KTLA-TV.
“It hits home knowing that a child was dropped off and didn’t get to come home to their family,” Leah Harnden, whose daughter attends the school, said.
“I know that this world is so crazy and we worry about our kids at school and for something tragic like this to happen, it’s devastating. I cried. I absolutely cried because it’s not right,” she said.
Students have been seeing counselors in the aftermath of the incident.
The family issued a statement saying the boy “was loved by many, and we appreciate everyone who is helping us to grieve his loss. We are still in shock and disbelief over Yahshua’s death. He was a bright, talented, and loving child who had a bright future ahead of him. We are struggling to understand why this happened.”
Amarna Plummer, who said the boy was her nephew, linked his death with a heat wave and actions taken by the school.
She said that he had been told to run because he was not dressed for gym class, and that other students have told her he did not feel well as he was running, according to KNBC-TV.
“He was reaching out to the teacher, saying he needs some water. He said he couldn’t breathe. He was telling the kids this,” Plummer said.
Plummer said he eventually collapsed.
“Why would you have a child in his clothes — he didn’t dress out — running a field?” she said.
According to Plummer, the boy’s mother teaches physical education at another school in the district and had warned school officials against the heat.
“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.
As noted by the Lake Elsinore City Facebook page, the community was under an excessive heat warning that began on Monday and lasted until Wednesday, with high temperatures expected to be between 100 and 109 degrees.
Dr. Branden Turner, a family and sports medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente, said Southern California’s heat waves require adjustments to accepted routines.
“I think there are all these weather events that are new for us, so we have to create the processes for them so that we can keep each other safe and in particular, keep our kids safe,” Turner told KTLA.
“The void Yahshua leaves behind is profound. Janae & Eric Robinson and their three other children are trying to come to terms with this devastating reality. The agony of losing a child is indescribable, and as we wait with heavy hearts for the autopsy results, we are reminded of the unpredictability of life,” Plummer posted on a GoFundMe page set up for the family.