Tragedy at Henry Clay High School: Student dies after breaking up on-campus bathroom fight

The death of a 17-year-old student who complained of pain after breaking up a fight in a bathroom at Henry Clay High School Friday and soon after was taken to the hospital is under investigation, local officials and his family’s attorney said Sunday night.

The Fayette County Coroner’s office Sunday confirmed the student’s name was Emmanuel Mwakadi. The investigation is open and no foul play is suspected, coroner officials said.

The student died at UK Chandler Hospital Friday.

Justin Peterson, a Lexington attorney representing Emmanuel’s family, told the Herald-Leader Sunday that between first and second period Friday, Emmanuel broke up a fight occurring in one of the boy’s restrooms.

“He came out and complained about an injury to his head and neck, went to second period (and) toward the end of the second period,” he suffered an event that required the summoning of emergency medical personnel, the lawyer said.

Emmanuel collapsed and fell unconscious in the classroom after complaining of head and neck pain he apparently sustained while breaking up the fight, Peterson added.

Lexington Fire Major Derek Roberts said the fire department, responding to a call of a seizure, was dispatched to the school at 10:09 a.m. Friday.

“We will be investigating whether or not it was the event in the bathroom, whether or not there was a delay in treatment, whether the treatment that was provided was sufficient, and whether or not all or some of these things combined contributed to his death,” Peterson said.

Lexington Police officials did not immediately say Sunday night if they were formally investigating. Peterson said Sunday he will be contacting police and officials from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Fayette County Public Schools.

“One of the things the family is disturbed about is that no one from the school has reached out to them to discuss what happened, how they are doing, to give their sympathies and condolences,” Peterson said.

“We are greatly concerned about the lack of communication from the school.”

Fayette County Public Schools district spokesperson Dia Davidson-Smith said school officials had been in constant contact with the family.

“The entire (Fayette County Public Schools) family is grieving the death on Friday of the student at HCHS (Henry Clay High School),” said Davidson-Smith. “The school leadership, teachers, and district interpreters have been in constant contact with the family from the very moment the student experienced the medical crisis in the classroom. On behalf of the superintendent and entire FCPS family, our sincere condolences.”