Imani Bell's parents look on as the teen's former coach speaks during Wednesday candlelight vigil.
Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AJC
Photo: ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AJC

Clayton school may have violated policy on exercise in extreme heat in student death

Clayton County’s Elite Scholars Academy appears to have violated district policy on outdoor activities in allowing a  16-year-old athlete to participate in conditioning drills last week. 

Imani Bell collapsed and later died after running stairs during outdoor drills on Aug. 13, which reached a record high of 100 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The student had earlier in the day complained to a coach that she was feeling ill from exercising, her family has said. 

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Imani Bell died last Tuesday during one of the hottest days of the year.

In a policy titled “Heat advisory precautions for physical education/school day activities,” the Clayton School’s policy mandates that all outside activities -- including physical education classes -- are to be suspended when the heat index is 95 degrees and above. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained the policy through an open records request.

According to the guidelines, outdoor activities when the heat index is 95-100 degrees are considered high risk. If the  heat index is 101 degrees or above, those activities are considered extreme risk. 

“Note that full sun exposure can increase the heat index by as much as 15 degrees,” the district wrote in bold letters in the policy. 

Justin Miller, an attorney and spokesman for the family, has said they are considering a lawsuit against Clayton Schools because the district has not been forthcoming on why students were doing conditioning drills in 100-degree heat. They also want to know more about the coaching staff that day and the county’s policies on exercising in extreme conditions. 

ORIGINAL DOCUMENT: READ CLAYTON’S POLICY

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