Yucaipa-Calimesa schools agree to pay $15.75 million to family of 13-year-old student who died – San Bernardino Sun

The Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District has agreed to a $15.75 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by the mother of a middle schooler who died after an asthma attack.

Adilene Carrasco was a 13-year-old student at Mesa View Middle School in Calimesa. She had a history of asthma attacks, as noted on the home screen of her student profile in the Aeries online student database, according to the lawsuit against the district. The suit alleged the district did not follow its own policies and protocols, leading to Adilene’s death.

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“This was not about the money,” Adilene’s mother, Edith Sepulveda, said Wednesday, Nov. 16. “It’s about not letting that happen to another family, so that no other family has to go through what we’re going through. You need to be able to take your kids to school and know they will come back to you.”

The settlement may be the largest asthma-related death settlement in state history, according to Sepulveda’s legal team. The mother is represented by the Los Angeles-based law firm of Panish, Shea, Boyle and Ravipudi and the Pasadena-based Claypool Law Firm.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the district pledged to change its policies and procedures to improve the care of students with asthma and other identified medical conditions.

“All along, we wanted to make sure any kind of resolution included changes to school district policies, and we weren’t going to rest until that was accomplished,” attorney Robert Glassman said Wednesday.

Adilene Carrasco, 13, died on Nov. 9, 2019, after suffering a severe asthma attack at Yucaipa’s Mesa View Middle School. The school district has settled a lawsuit brought by Adilene’s family for $15.75 million. (Photo courtesy of Edith Sepulveda)

On Oct. 31, 2019, Adilene’s science class headed out to the school’s field to take part in a “pumpkin chuckin’ ” contest, according to the suit. Adilene began having difficulty breathing as she reached the field. Her science teacher told her she could go back to the classroom with a classmate and get her inhaler.

The two girls walked the 366 yards back to the classroom to get the inhaler, according to the suit. When the inhaler didn’t help, the girls walked back to the field and asked if Adilene could walk to the nurse’s office.

Despite Adilene being unable to stand up straight and her voice sounding shaky and wheezy, according to the suit, the teacher sent the girls back up the hill to the nurse’s office. Adilene’s classmate began to panic as Adilene’s condition worsened.

“She was — well, at a certain point, she couldn’t stand on her own and had to be supported,” the lawsuit quotes the classmate as saying. “She was breathing very hard in a way, like, gasping almost for air, and her voice wasn’t clear in a way, if that’s a good way to describe it. It wasn’t clear enough to understand what she was saying.”

A campus monitor eventually spotted the girls and picked them up in her golf cart. At that point, Adilene no longer had the breath to be able to speak. By the time paramedics arrived, Adilene’s heart had stopped.

She died at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital nine days later.

According to the suit, district protocols say students with “excessive injury or uncommon issues (broken bone, head injury, breathing issue)” should be escorted by an adult to the school nurse.

“Do NOT send students with a ‘buddy’ student,” the protocol, as quoted in the lawsuit, reads in part.

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