A Boston mother is furious about the alleged negligence of a school nurse who may have nearly killed her autistic child. Alishia Hicks, 51, contends that her son was the victim of racial bias at Dr. William W. Henderson Inclusion School, located in the primarily Black neighborhood of Dorchester — and she refuses to keep quiet until she gets some real answers.
Hicks says she received a phone call on Wednesday, May 4, from Dr. William W. Henderson Inclusion School about a medical emergency involving her 17-year-old son D’Andre. “He reported to the nurse that he felt dizzy, he was shaking and numb on the left side,” she said to Newsweek, and Hicks immediately knew her son was suffering from a stroke. “I said, ‘Please dial 911; he could be stroking,'” she recounted.
The mother of three revealed that the potentially life-ending condition runs in her family. In fact, she has dealt with three strokes in the past decade. And Hicks still requires a wheelchair because of the aftereffects, which would have made it nearly impossible to reach her son in time. But it was the nurse’s response that enraged her. According to Hicks, the school nurse said the following: “[D’Andre] looks okay to me. Are you going to come pick him up?”
Hicks said she was irate and argued with the nurse, stressing her family’s medical history. But the nurse supposedly refused to call 911. So Hicks says she switched tactics and reached out to the school’s front desk instead. And it was someone other than the school nurse who thought to contact the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF).
When the DCF called Hicks back, she shouted, “He’s gonna die! They’re gonna let him die!” It reportedly took 45 minutes from the moment D’Andre alerted the school nurse to the second that 911 was dialed, and doctors at Tufts Medical Center affirmed that the teen had already “suffered an ischemic stroke.” They removed a blood clot from D’Andre’s brain, which is what probably saved his life.
D’Andre is reportedly too traumatized to return to class, and Boston School Superintendent Brenda Cassellius has supposedly reached out to Hicks. Cassellius has apologized and is looking into her son’s incident. “I hate to say it was a racial thing, but it really seems as though if my son was a different race they would have treated him right away,” Hicks said. “My son said he felt like they didn’t take him seriously.”
The Boston Public Schools did not respond to Newsweek directly about this incident. However, it has since released a public statement saying its primary focus is “first with the health and well-being of this student.”
“We are glad to hear he is recovering well,” it continued. “This serious incident is being reviewed by appropriate BPS staff, and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further on this specific matter.”
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