Amarillo, TX – A school cafeteria worker allegedly gave a 10-year-old White Christian girl with a dairy allergy the wrong kind of pizza for lunch. But because her life-saving medication was locked away in an unattended nurse’s office, she died after suffering a severe allergic reaction. Then, before her body had even been buried, her organs were swiftly transplanted into a cross-dressing homosexual already suffering from several terminal illnesses.
On January 18th, 10-year-old Emerson Kate Cole of Amarillo entered anaphylactic shock at de Zavala Middle School after an apparent lunchroom mix-up resulted in her being issued a slice of dairy pizza instead of a dairy-free slice. As a result, she passed away the next morning at Northwest Texas Hospital, surrounded by loving family members, a sympathetic community, and scores of medical professionals lined up throughout the halls of the facility.
While Emerson’s allergic reaction to the cafeteria food could have easily been reversed through the application of a standard dose of Epinephrine—commonly referred to as an EpiPen—the school was unable to act in time as her medicine was locked away in a nurse’s station that went completely unattended.
The Justice Report first became aware of the story through social media posts on Facebook, where a now-deleted post from a user named “Stephanie Daly” described the event that resulted in the tragic, yet, easily preventable, death of young Emerson.
“She was at school, a place that should be safe. She was given a dairy pizza instead of a dairy-free pizza, [sic] she went into anaphylactic shock,” explained Stephanie in a heart-wrenching post. “The kicker, her lifesaving medication, her EPI pen was LOCKED AWAY in the nurse’s room where no one had access to it. The nurse was away from the school! This death could have been prevented.”
But it soon became apparent that Daly’s Facebook post was not the only one to shine a light on what she described as “negligence.” In another separate post, this time made by Facebook user, Alexandria DeRosa, we discovered more about the trials young Emerson faced that day as medical professionals tried—yet failed—to bring her back from shock.
“This poor baby, a 10-year-old girl, coded and had CPR performed on her AT SCHOOL before she was placed on a ventilator and passed from a DAIRY ALLERGY,” explained DeRosa with an apparent insider knowledge of the tragic event. “Educate yourselves and teach your children about food allergies.” (Emphasis in the original.)
But aside from social media posts originating from the “allergy mom” community, a blog post on the allergy awareness website, Snack Safely, and a sole news article that appeared on the South African news aggregator SNBC13, the grim-yet-fascinating story of a totally avoidable death of a middle school student at the hands of a grossly negligent school have, so far, gone completely unreported by even local media outlets in Texas.
It was only after the Justice Report began its own investigation that we were able to finally confirm the school where this unfortunate event took place: the Lorenzo De Zavala Middle School in northwest Amarillo.
We were also able to sit down for an exclusive interview with Billy Daniels, an Amarillo local with intimate knowledge of the incident. As we spoke with him, it quickly became clear that what happened to young Emerson was nothing short of outrageous, and the lack of a response from local media or school administrators was shockingly quiet.
“She had a severe allergy on record, and the school gave her the dairy that she was allergic to in the cafeteria. Her EpiPen was locked in the nurse’s station,” Daniels explained. “And the nurse was off campus, don’t know where she was, if she was in a different school, or on lunch, or on vacation. No one could access her EpiPen, and she died. A beautiful 10-year-old girl died, and there is no news coverage at all.”
In an effort to clear the many rumors being spread online of absent nurses and negligent food service workers in the lunch line, the Justice Report reached out to Nathan Culwell, the current serving Principal of De Zavala Middle School, since 2021, for comment. While we did not hear back for an immediate response, we will continue to provide updates as they become available and our investigation continues.
According to Emerson’s obituary, she was warmly described as always being “audaciously and unapologetically herself.” She loved fishing, volleyball, dancing, singing, her love of Jesus, and “making people laugh until their sides hurt.”
But the most heartwrenching and impactful memories came from Emerson’s father, Stevon, who grieved openly on his Facebook account, “Cole Land Scape.”
“My heart has left my body, My sweet baby daughter passed this morning at 9:58,” He mourned. “I wanted to share the news with everyone that has reached out and shown our families love and support. Im [sic] hurting so bad that I can’t feel anything, my mind is gone and overall numb….Emerson Kate Cole I’ll NEVER STOP LOVING YOU. Daddy…”
Per Facebook posts made by various relatives of Emerson, the Cole family openly practices their Christian faith and comes across as a highly charitable group of people. When individuals sympathetic to the Cole family’s plight sought to donate to them in their time of need, they only asked that financial donations be redirected to the Third Strand, a faith-based Christian nonprofit that seeks to “provide safe donor breast milk to healthy nursing babies who have lost a mother or whose mother is unable to breastfeed due to a serious illness or disease”
Additionally, in the wake of Emerson’s Death, the Cole family opted to donate her vital organs to medical science. “Her Mom and I have decided to donate her organs to others in need,” said Stevon Cole on Facebook. “I know there’s a family out there praying for a miracle, just like we all have been. I never could imagine not getting that miracle, but Emerson’s sacrifice will give another dad, mom, and families sitting in helplessness and heartache a chance. She is my hero.”
Despite their daughter’s life having been cut so short, the generosity of the Cole family has ensured that young Emerson’s legacy will surely be a long-lasting one. As a result of their decision to donate her organs, Emerson is expected to go on to save fourteen different people who currently sit on lengthy organ transplant donor waiting lists.
January 18, 2023: Emerson suffers allergic reaction at De Zavala Middle School
January 19, 2023: Emerson’s death at Nortwest Texas Hospital approximately 9:38am
January 23, 2023: Emerson’s kidney is transplanted into Jeff Jarnagin
January 26, 2023: Emerson’s burial at Hillside Christian ChurchTimeline of Events
But before young Emerson was even laid to rest, her organs were already being assigned to those in need. One such lucky recipient of Emerson’s vital organs—in this case, a kidney—happened to be open homosexual Jeff Jarnagin, a local drag performer and theater aficionado who was previously diagnosed with two forms of advanced terminal cancers.
On a GoFundMe for Jeff titled “Jeff Jarnagin’s Kidney Transplant,” Jarnagin goes on to describe his lifelong battle with cancer and kidney issues, including stage 3 testicular cancer and end-stage renal failure, which forces him to use a dialysis machine multiple times a week. He also goes on to grimly retell a time when his body once previously received a healthy kidney transplant but was rejected and had to be removed due to it “hemorrhaging and throwing blood clots into [his] bladder.”
“I couldn’t even make it to the car for my partner Shawn to take me to the ER,” explained Jarnagin in a GoFundMe update dated June 9, 2022. “We had to call an ambulance. By this time, the pain was unbearable. Nothing seemed to help, not even the Fentanyl given in the ambulance.”
“I blacked out at least 3 times in the ER from pain. My surgeons came in the room and delivered the worse possible news,” he continued. “They were sure the kidney would need to be removed. And that’s what happened. It was basically falling apart inside me. It was hemorrhaging and throwing blood clots into my bladder.”
According to Medical News Today, the life expectancy for someone receiving dialysis for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), like Jeff Jarnagin, is approximately 5–10 years, though those receiving a donor kidney from a diseased person can expect to live 10–15 years before needing a replacement. Even so, for those receiving dialysis—even in the early onset stages—an estimated 20–50% of those suffering from ESRD die within 2 years. These survival rates can be further impacted by those who have survived other forms of deadly cancer, like Jarnagin’s own bout with stage 3 testicular cancer.
It is currently unknown which staff members of De Zavala Middle School may have inadvertently led to the accidental death of Emerson Cole of Amarillo, Texas, or if any disciplinary measures may have been taken because of the alleged negligence. Silence in the face of tragedy, however, is already proving to be a troubling sign.
Schools, school districts, and their administrators will often attempt to cover up or downplay events that take place inside their hallways to mitigate the possibility of bad press or unwanted exposure. In 2022, a progressive left middle school in Fort Worth silenced a concerned father after his son was attacked with a taser in between classes. Because of the racial dynamics at play, the school refused to address the attack, and local media opted not to report the story.
In September, also in Fort Worth, a White high schooler was stabbed in the back with a knife by a fellow Black student, and exclusive footage of the aftermath was obtained by the Justice Report. Instead of denouncing the attacker, the principal of the school, Nika Davis, instead released a statement that directed her ire onto student whistleblowers who bravely leaked the incident onto social media for public consumption.
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