El Camino Real Charter High School executive director David Hussey walked into the school’s public address system Tuesday morning and made an announcement every school administrator dreads: the death of a student. He then sent a letter to parents telling them that a 17-year-old senior had died of a fentanyl overdose.
Cade Kitchen, a former baseball player and top student, is the youngest teenager to die of a fentanyl overdose.
“As a family, they don’t want this to happen to another student or any other person,” Hussey said Friday.
The Los Angeles Police Department announced last month that at least seven teenagers had overdosed on pills that may contain fentanyl in the past month.
Hussey, a former football coach at Woodland Hills School, has known the Kitchen family for years. Cade Kitchen’s older brother, Cole, was a standout pitcher for El Camino Real and plays baseball at Santa Clara University. One sister, Marlee, attends UCLA.
Cade played baseball as a freshman and sophomore and then quit the sport to focus on other interests, baseball coach Josh Lienhard said. He picked up the guitar. The news of his death hit the team hard.
“A lot of players were pretty close with him,” said Lienhard. “It was a tough nut to crack.”
The school sent a message to parents after Hussey reached out to students:
“It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that one of our 17-year-old students passed away last night. This tragic incident was the result of a fatal fentanyl overdose. As a father and parent, I cannot understand the loss of a child. It breaks my heart to know that a student from El Camino will not be with us tomorrow. On behalf of the El Camino Real community, our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. After the death of a friend, young people need more support and attention than usual from their parents and other adults. This is a particularly difficult and emotional time for those who knew the student, the student’s family, or for students who have recently experienced trauma in their lives.”
Hussey said El Camino Real provided advisors to the students. Teachers will also address the dangers of fentanyl.
“This is bigger than a school,” Hussey said. “We need more people involved, law enforcement, politicians and the media to raise awareness about educating people.”
Lienhard, who has children ages 6 and 11, said parents should have conversations with their children, especially as Halloween approaches.
“It’s more important to be safe,” he said.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/highschool/story/2022-10-07/former-el-camino-real-baseball-player-cade-kitchen-dies-of-fentanyl-overdose Ex-El Camino Real baseball player dies of Fentanyl overdose