- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 24, 2021

JONESBORO, Ga. (AP) - The family of a high school basketball player who died after practicing outdoor in nearly 100-degree heat in Georgia is suing several school officials for wrongful death.

The parents of 16-year-old Imani Bell filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Clayton County State Court, news outlets reported.

The suit names several administrators and coaching staff at Elite Scholars Academy, a public school in Jonesboro. It accuses the officials of negligence and pre-death pain and suffering.

The Clayton County school system was not named in the lawsuit and Clayton County school district officials declined to comment on pending litigation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Imani died at a hospital in August 2019 shortly after “signaling she was in distress” and collapsing during outdoor basketball drills which included running up and down stadium steps, according to the lawsuit. Recorded temperatures that day reached up to 97 degrees with a heat index of up to 106, a news outlet said.



The lawsuit alleged Imani died from cardiac arrest and acute kidney failure, among other complications of heatstroke.

In the aftermath of the teen’s death, the Journal-Constitution reported that the school appeared to have violated district and Georgia High School Association policy by allowing outdoor athletic activity when the heat index surpassed 95 degrees. The district has since implemented additional measures, including canceling physical education classes and athletic practices on days with intense heat, the news outlet said.

The Bell family is seeking unspecified monetary damages, burial expenses and the removal of involved school officials, according to a lawyer representing the family.

“We just want closure in this whole situation,” Dorian Bell, Imani’s mother, said during a news conference Wednesday. “We need that. That’s a part of our healing.”

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