A 17-Year-Old Philadelphia Student Dies After Dispute With Staff Members At Wordsworth Academy

A 17-year-old Philadelphia student died after a struggle with school members on Thursday according to ABC News. Police said staff members at Wordsworth Academy were on a search for an unauthorized item in the student’s room when the incident took place.

A public information officer for the Philadelphia Police Department, Sgt. Eric Gripp said when staff left the room they heard some unusual noise of a door banging on the other side of the student, who was apparently attempting to blockade himself in the room. The student continued to barricade the door despite the academy members’ continued instructions to stop.

After some time when the staff members again entered the room, they informed that the room was in “complete disarray,” with destroyed fixtures and wood items like furniture. They found the student standing up on the bed in utter anger. The staff members tried calming the student, telling him to behave properly but all in vain. He then began to yell and strike them, police said. When the staff members tried to gain control of him, he lost consciousness.


While the staff members tried to revive the student from unconsciousness with preliminary first aid and CPR until the arrival of an emergency medication, the staff members were unable to resuscitate the student.


According to the sources cited by KYW-TV, one of the staff members, a counselor, trying to take the situation under control during the altercation, placed the boy in a headlock which was thought to be the cause of his death. The staff members found an iPod during the search that didn’t belong to the 17-year-old student, the sources said. The unidentified boy was suffering from both mental and medical illnesses.


Due to an ongoing investigation, the student’s name was not disclosed. He was lying unresponsive on the floor when police arrived at the school. He was pronounced dead at 9:36 p.m. at the Ford Rd. School by an emergency crew. The identity of the student will not released until a full investigation of the case is done. The investigation is under the supervision of the department’s homicide unit to rule on the boy’s actual cause of death Friday night.

In a later statement following the death, the school said the whole faculty grieved the loss of the student’s life and said the incident was shocking and sad. The school department could not comment on the situation due to the ongoing investigation being carried out, which could even take several days, adding that the department is working diligently to provide detailed and accurate information.


“We are shocked and saddened by the events of Thursday evening, and extend our condolences to the family, of this loss that we all felt,” school officials said in a statement.

“Because we are licensed by multiple public systems, the investigation into Thursday night’s incident could take several days, if not more, and we are unable to comment on it at this time. We are working closely with all investigative authorities to provide accurate and timely information.”

Wordsworth Academy provides education, behavioral health and child welfare services to children and youth and is a private, nonprofit residential juvenile treatment center, providing emotional, behavioral and academic challenges to some 2,000 children so future students can reach their potential and lead productive lives. Police said students attend Wordsworth Academy because of court commitments or a requirement by the Department of Human Services.


According to its website, Wordsworth’s has been continuing its services to empower individuals, families, and communities since 1952. After the death, police were called over to the building on the 3900 block of Ford Road just before 11 p.m. Thursday. Staff members spent several hours in interviews during the thorough investigation by officers, including homicide detectives.

According to investigators, EMS was called for an emergency at the academy around 9 p.m. Thursday. Police authorities say faculty searched the student’s room for something. Sources also say that the teen was placed into a headlock in an attempt to get the situation under control. Authorities are waiting for medical reports to see if the teen had any previous pre-existing conditions. There were a lot of concerned parents looking for answers on Friday.

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