21-year-old special-needs student Dyasha Smith choked to death while eating a muffin at her high school, the New York Post reports.
When EMS workers arrived at the School for International Studies, Dyasha was unconscious. She was rushed to New York Methodist Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Dyasha’s mother, Catherine Smith, 70, is both shocked and outraged by her daughter’s passing.
“I want to know why my child passed away at the school like that. She was supposed to have one-to-one attention, I want an autopsy,” said Catherine, who adopted Dyasha when she was just 3-years-old, told the New Daily News. “She never choked at my house, how could she choke at school?”
Sadly Catherine says that school officials didn’t even inform her that her autistic daughter had died. Instead, she learned the heartbreaking news from doctors at New York Methodist.
“This is negligence … They would always try to calm her down with food … I expected to see her alive and I saw my baby dead in a hospital bed,” Catherine went on. “She died like a dog. Why would this happen to a child amongst so many qualified people? It’s total carelessness.”
In a separate interview, she told the Post that the school should be held responsible for her daughter’s death. Apparently, Dyasha’s food was supposed to be cut into small pieces and any bread products should have been soaked in water first.
“The school knows that they’re not supposed to let her eat alone,” said Catherine. “The school really has to be held responsible because this child should not have died in that school.”
“I am deeply saddened to hear of this loss, and my heart goes out to the student’s family,” said the school’s Chancellor Carmen Fariña.