Moment of Silence to Be Held for Teen Who Overdosed at High School in Hollywood

Police arrested two teenagers in connection with at least three overdoses at Hollywood schools this week alone.


There is a planned moment of silence at a football game to be held Friday night at Helen Bernstein High School to honor the 15-year-old girl who died in a school bathroom of an overdose Tuesday.

The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Margarita Gonzalez, the heartbroken grandmother of the girl, told NBCLA in Spanish that she hopes these deaths don’t happen anymore. She wants the community to pay more attention to kids, because sad and painful things are happening.

On the front steps of Bernstein High School, flowers, balloons, and candles have been placed as a reminder that the LAUSD community continues to grieve the loss of the teen.

The LAPD said she and a friend bought a pill from another student they thought was Percocet, but was instead laced with fentanyl.

The two girls made their purchase in Lexington Park, just south of Bernstein High, earlier that same day, according to police. When the two teenagers took the pills, they immediately felt ill.

The Los Angeles County Coroner's office also identified the teenage girl who tragically died as 15-year-old Melanie Ramos. Ramos and another teenage girl were found on the Bernstein High campus around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, when a man went looking for his daughter after she did not return home from school.

The father went to the Bernstein High campus in Hollywood to search for his daughter, and found her in the courtyard of the school, suffering from an overdose.

Two teens are arrested in drug overdoses at Halen Bernstein High School. Alex Rozier reports for the NBC4 News at 3 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 15, 2022.

The girl told her father that her friend -- Ramos -- was still inside the building. The man and a school employee found Ramos unresponsive in the restroom. She died at the scene.

"It’s just such a horrifying event and it represents, unfortunately, a lot of kids’ believing that they can dabble in and experiment occasionally and it’ll be OK," said Jackie Goldberg of the LAUSD Board of Education, District #5.

Goldberg says she met with 15 teachers at the high school Friday to talk to them about the recent overdoses at school.

"Mostly, they’re unhappy that they’re aren’t full-time nurses at every school. They’re unhappy that there aren’t social workers and psychiatric social workers at every school," she said.

Police arrested two teenagers in connection with at least three overdoses at Hollywood schools this week alone.

One of those arrested is a 15-year-old boy who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, Los Angeles police said Thursday.

The boy, a student at an independent charter school located on the same campus in Hollywood, also was accused in an overdose that left the girl's friend hospitalized, Chief Michel Moore said. A 16-year-old boy also was arrested and booked on suspicion of drug sales for allegedly selling narcotics to a third student at Lexington Park near the high school.

Investigators say three other teenagers who also used fentanyl-laced pills became very sick.

Both teens under arrest are students at Apex Academy who knew each other, Moore said. Their names are not being released due to their ages.

Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency are working to find the distributors who provided the 15- and 16-year-old boys with the pills, Moore said.

“There is a drug organization behind this,” Moore said.

Now, LA County is putting out an alert about the growing number of fentanyl-laced pills.

According to the CDC, fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

“Fentanyl is so potent that even a grain of sand amount of fentanyl can cause respiratory depression, a coma, and death," said UCI Health ER doctor Bharath Chakravarthy.

Some parents, including family members, have demanded to know why school officials were not aware that the girl had died in the school bathroom.

“It’s very heartbreaking just to know that she was alone in that bathroom," a parent of another student who attends the school, Maria Torres, said.

Goldberg says it’s not the time to blame.

"You cannot watch everybody all the time. It is not humanly possible. What we have to do is help young people understand that this is no joke when you think you can just play around and experiment a little," Goldberg said.

School officials at the high school declined NBCLA's request for an interview.

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho went to Bernstein High Wednesday morning to meet with the dead girl's family. He lashed out at the scourge of drugs being sold to teen students, saying people have been selling narcotics in Lexington Park for weeks.

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