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This mom wants to know if there was a school nurse on duty the day her son choked on his lunch and died

Posted at 4:11 PM, Feb 23, 2023

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The parents of a 13-year-old Chesterfield County middle school student who died after choking on his school lunch continue to wonder what exactly happened to their son at school.

One of the questions Josue Nolasco's parents want to be answered is what type of emergency-response training the adults in the cafeteria with their son received prior to his death.

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Karina and Josue Nolasco

While Chesterfield Schools have not yet responded to the family questions, nor to questions posted by CBS 6, Virginia code requires all teaching staff to be up-to-date in terms of training when it comes to emergency first aid, resuscitation, and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Virginia School Health guidelines also state if a child is choking that a rescue squad is called immediately.

When asked about the investigation, Chesterfield Police indicated they were treating the situation as a medical emergency.

Police also shared that a school resource officer rendered aid to the child and Chesterfield Fire and EMS were called to the school at about 11:15 a.m. Josue arrived at the hospital about 20 minutes later.

Josue's parents would also like to know if Providence Middle had a school nurse on duty the day their son choked.

RELATED: Their teenage son died after choking on his school lunch: 'What happened?'

“I’m not looking for people to be guilty, or wrong, I just want to know what happened," Josue's mother Karina Nolasco, who speaks Spanish, said via a translator.

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Josue Nolasco's parents

While Chesterfield Schools has not yet answered questions about the school nurse, state code does not require school nurses to be on site.

"Not every school, and many smaller school divisions, do not have a nurse for every school," Shane Riddle, with the Virginia Education Association (VEA), said.

Virginia code states school boards may "strive to employ" at least one nurse for every 1,000 students and each school district in Virginia should have three “specialized student support staff" members for every 1,000 students, which may include a school nurse.

The VEA would like to see more support staff added to schools to help relieve a burden on teachers and to make sure someone is equipped to respond to emergencies.

"Specifically referencing nurses, for these medical emergencies, like what happened recently [to Josue Nolasco], would go a long way to solving some of those issues," Riddle said.

While the Virginia State Senate has proposed $57 million toward hiring more school support staff members, the Virginia House of Delegates' budget proposal does not include additional funding.

A family friend has set up a GoFundMe to help the family cover any funeral and memorial expenses. Click here to donate.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for in-depth coverage of this important local story. Anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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