A California middle school student died Tuesday after allegedly being required to run outside during a hot day as punishment for not being properly dressed for a physical education class.
Yahshua Robinson, 12, was improperly attired for gym class at Canyon Lake Middle School in Lake Elsinore, Riverside County, according to an NBC Los Angeles report.
Family members claim a teacher ignored Robinson’s pleas for help before he died after being forced to run during sweltering heat at his middle school. Temperatures there ranged from the low-to-mid 90s that day.
According to family members, Robinson was not dressed appropriately for the physical education class. He was made to run, a common disciplinary measure in many schools for students who do not adhere to the dress code.
“He was reaching out to the teacher, saying he needed some water,” said Robinson’s Aunt, Amarna Plummer. “He said he couldn’t breathe. He was telling the kids this.”
Despite his pleas, the situation escalated, and Robinson eventually collapsed on the field, the report noted. Emergency services were called, but Robinson was declared dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.
Plummer expressed anguish, questioning the decision to have Robinson run, especially since he wasn’t in his P.E. attire.
“Why would you have a child in his clothes – he didn’t dress out – running a field?” she queried.
Robinson’s mother, a physical education instructor at another school in the same district, reportedly cautioned the school administration about the risks of outdoor activities in the prevailing heat.
“She informs the administration, ‘Do not let any children go out today for P.E.,’” Plummer said. “And what happened? She gets a call he passed out on the field.”
The Lake Elsinore Unified School District did not comment about the specifics of the incident but issued a boilerplate statement of sorrow.
“We are saddened to confirm the death of one of our students due to a medical emergency at one of our LEUSD campuses,” a district representative said in its statement.
The district noted grief counselors have been made available for students and staff.