Romeo Pierre Louis

‘Listen to our Children’: Parents Sue School After Boy Collapses & Dies, Staff Thought He Was ‘Playing Dead’

A Connecticut couple has filed a lawsuit alleging that school staff failed to respond properly after their young son collapsed on a playground, WFSB-TV reports.

On April 5, 2022, 5-year-old Romeo Pierre Louis fell to the ground at Charter Oak International Academy in West Hartford while he was playing freeze tag during recess. Romeo was motionless and staff allegedly believed he was playing dead as part of the game.

But in fact, the boy had a rare condition called Brugada syndrome that causes an irregular heartbeat.

The lawsuit alleges that staff waited for nine minutes to check on him and take his pulse, at which point they called 911. Other kids allegedly asked staff to check on the boy but their pleas were not immediately heeded, according to FOX 61, citing the lawsuit.

Further, an ambulance allegedly did not arrive until a half hour after the child collapsed. He died at a hospital two days later, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit, filed earlier this week by the boy’s parents, D’Meza Shultz Pierre Louis and Chantel Pierre Louis, contends that Romeo could still be alive today if staff attended to him more quickly.

“Romeo was allowed to collapse and lay on the ground for nearly 10 minutes without any assistance or medical treatment — despite several teachers . . . being in close proximity,” the complaint reads, according to the Daily Mail.

It continues: “By the time the teachers . . . realized that Romeo was not playing dead and needed emergency medical treatment — it was too late, and Romeo’s life could no longer be saved.”

The suit seeks more than $150,000 in damages against the school and the Town of West Hartford.

Romeo’s mother, Chantel, said the lawsuit is intended to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

“We know that nothing will bring our son back,” Chantel said at a tribute held this week on the anniversary of her son’s death, according to WFSB-TV. “All we can do is keep his memory in our hearts and do what we can so this doesn’t happen to another child. Listen to our children.”

The school district has made counselors available to students and staff who may be struggling to deal with the boy’s death.

Andy Morrow, the acting superintendent, said the district cannot comment about the pending lawsuit, but he did offer words of comfort for the family.

“The death of a child is a devastating and unimaginable loss, and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Romeo Pierre Louis,” Morrow said, according to WFSB-TV.

Dallas C. Dodge, a lawyer for the town and school district, also issued a statement.

“The death of a child under any circumstance is a tragedy, and we extend our condolences to the family and friends of Romeo,” Dodge said, according to the television station. “Out of respect for the legal process, the Town and the Board of Education will not comment further.”

An obituary asks that memorial donations may be made to La Gonave Haiti Missions.

“Romeo was a loving and caring boy who showed a deep and genuine care for others. He loved superheroes, spending time with his parents, playing with his brother, challenging his sister, and looking forward to snuggling during family movie night,” the obituary reads.

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[Feature Photo: Romeo Pierre Louis/A Voice for Romeo]