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Teacher arrested after overdosing on fentanyl in front of students; police discover drugs in classroom closet

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A New Jersey middle school teacher was arrested after he allegedly overdosed on drugs while in the classroom.

Police said that 57-year-old Frank Thompson, an art teacher at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield, fell unconscious on Nov. 29 while in his classroom. The school resource officer responded to the scene and "observed signs indicative of a drug overdose."

That officer then administered Narcan, which reduces or reverses the effects of opioids. After the Narcan was administered, Thompson showed "marked signs of improvement."

Upon investigating further, police discovered "a quantity of a suspected controlled dangerous substance and various items of drug paraphernalia were located in a closet in the classroom," the Westfield Police Department said in a statement.

Thompson was formally charged on Jan. 5 with possession of a controlled dangerous substance (fentanyl), possession of drug paraphernalia, and endangering the welfare of children.

The school district informed parents of the incident, WNYW-TV reported. After the incident, the students were removed from the classroom and it was sealed off to be thoroughly cleaned. The school said that a former teacher returned to the school to continue classroom instruction.

Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said:

The Westfield Police Department continues to prioritize its ongoing partnership with the Westfield Public School System to ensure it has the safety and security resources it needs on a daily basis. In this case, the swift actions of Officer Riga, who is on-site at Roosevelt Intermediate each school day, proved instrumental in maintaining the safety of the students and administering potentially life-saving measures to Mr. Thompson.

Officials, however, did not say why it took nearly six weeks to charge Thompson. They did not say whether the teacher had a regular habit of using drugs while at work.

The Westfield Public School District, moreover, is not commenting on the incident.

"While the Westfield Public School District cannot comment on personnel matters which are confidential, we will maintain a continued focus on student and staff safety and on preserving the integrity of the classroom learning environment," said Superintendent Dr. Raymond González.

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