UPDATE: The teacher in this case avoided jail time after a judge in May accepted him into a pre-trial intervention program. He also retired from the district in July. 


WESTFIELD — A middle school art teacher overdosed on fentanyl in front of students and had drugs stored in the classroom closet, according to police.

57-year-old Frank Thompson, a teacher at Roosevelt Intermediate School, overdosed on the deadly substance at around 9 a.m. on Nov. 29, according to Westfield police Chief Christopher Battiloro.

Thompson was unresponsive on the floor when a school resource officer arrived at the classroom. A school nurse was treating him while students looked on.

The SRO, Fortunato Riga, successfully administered Narcan to Thompson, who began to show "marked signs of improvement," according to Battiloro.

Narcan nasal spray (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)
Narcan nasal spray (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

Investigators later found drugs and related items in Thompson's classroom closet, Battiloro said.

While the incident occurred just after Thanksgiving, Thompson was not charged until Friday. He is charged with third-degree child endangerment, third-degree drug possession of fentanyl, and a count of possessing drug paraphernalia.

"In this case, the swift actions of Officer Riga, who is on-site at Roosevelt Intermediate each school day, proved instrumental in maintaining the safety of the students and administering potentially life-saving measures to Mr. Thompson," Battiloro said.

Superintendent Raymond González said in a written statement that the district could not comment on confidential personnel matters.

"We will maintain a continued focus on student and staff safety and on preserving the integrity of the classroom learning environment," González said.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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