Terry Gilleland, president of the board, said Monday that the department was notified about the death, as is required by law. A Department of Social Services spokeswoman would not confirm whether an investigation is underway.
“While I understand the public’s desire to know more, there are legal issues that make it inappropriate at this time for any Board member or AACPS employee to discuss any of the specifics of this matter or this student,” Gilleland said wrote in an email.
“Our focus moving forward will be to continue to support the student’s family and the students and staff at Central Special School, which is an amazing educational setting for children.”
Officials at the school called 911 on Nov. 5 after the student was reported choking. County Fire Department paramedics transported the boy to Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. The student later died, but officials have not said when. School officials have not identified the student, nor provided any details surrounding the incident.
Social Services Director Carnitra White of the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services said her agency is prohibited from confirming whether an investigation has been opened by Maryland law.
“We join our community in grieving for the loss of the Central Special student and our thoughts are with the child’s family and loved ones. Unfortunately, Maryland confidentiality laws prevent us from confirming or denying whether Child Protective Services is conducting an investigation,” White wrote in an email.
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Central Special School provides services to children with and without disabilities from age 3 to 5, with half-day programs, and a full program for children with severe disabilities age 6 to 21, according to the school website.
School system spokesman Bob Mosier has said the student was being supervised at the time of the accident. The number of staff members in a classroom is based on the needs of each child, he said.
Mosier said the school district is investigating the incident but the priority is to offer support to family, students and staff.
County police are not investigating the incident, a police spokesman said.
The president of the Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County (TAAAC), Russell Leone, called the incident a tragedy and said the teacher’s union is thinking of the family and the Central Special School staff members.
“Our hearts completely go out to the family at the Central Special community. I know the staff is extremely devoted to all of their students and they deal with them with a lot of love and a lot of patience,” Leone said.