Nearly 20 students suffer heat-related issues during drill at Oakland Park middle school

OAKLAND PARK, FLA. (WSVN) - Several middle school students needed medical attention during a drill on campus in Oakland Park.

The students were participating in a bomb treat drill at James S. Rickards Middle School when they began to feel ill, around 1 p.m., Thursday.

Reportedly, they stayed out in the sun a little too long, causing their heat-related symptoms.

During the drill, the students evacuated their middle school and walked to nearby Northeast High School. They were there for about an hour.

About 20 students started to complain about feeling fatigue, overly thirsty, tired. One middle schooler reportedly fainted.

Broward Sheriff’s Office and Oakland Park Fire Rescue responded to the scene. Fire Rescue treated 20 students and transported eight with minor injuries.

Student Natalie Cia explained what happened during the drill. “We were all outside for like an hour and a half, and everybody started feeling dizzy, and they wouldn’t give us water or anything,” she said. “They started handing out water at the end. I think a girl fainted. It was just really hot, and they wouldn’t let us go back inside.”

Another student said that school officials could have prepped them prior to the drill. “Could have maybe warned the kids so they wouldn’t have worn jeans or something like that,” said student Evan Tempro, “that would have caused them to get hot or heat stroke. Maybe get a water bottle.”

The school notified parents and gave them the option to pick up their children.

“We got a phone call that they did an evacuation of a bomb scare or something, and I just didn’t want my son around with all this going on today,” said parent Ted Tempro.

Cia said that if this drill was part of the plan, water should have been provided. “I was outside for too long,” she said. “It was too hot outside. Like, we live in Florida under the sun.”

All middle schoolers are expected to be OK.

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