Girl Dies After Eating Peanut at School

A Virginia first grader with a severe allergic reaction died after a classmate gave her a peanut and school officials could revive her.

Ammaria Johnson, 7, was playing during recess at her Chesterfield County elementary school when she ate the peanut on Jan. 3. Very quickly after ingesting the nut she complained that she was having trouble breathing and she also started to break out in hives.

When the emergency crew arrived they found that she had already gone into cardiac arrest. She was rushed to a local hospital where she died a short time later.

Her mother, Laura Pendleton, told WTVR that she could not believe or comprehend what went so terribly wrong.

"She has an allergy action plan at the school," said Pendleton, who told the station she authorized the school to give her child Benadryl during an allergic reaction. "They didn't do that."

Police told ABC the investigation found no criminal wrongdoing.

"Although not a crime, Ammaria's death is a tragedy and the Chesterfield County Police Department expresses its deepest sympathies to her family, classmates and school personnel as they deal with this difficult and painful event," police chief Col. Thierry Dupuis said in a statement.

One doctor told ABC that he believed having schools carry EpiPens may be a good idea to prevent future tragedies.

"There are kids who don't know they're food allergic until they get into the food," Dr. Dan Atkins told ABC. "In that situation, it would be good to have an EpiPen available."

As a result of the incident this week Virginia lawmakers are drafting emergency legislation.

"Get Epi-pens into school as quickly as possible," said Del. John O’Bannon.

The bill would require that Virginia schools have the injections of epinephrine on campus in case of an emergency. If the bill passed, it would become law immediately.

 "I think parents who have seen their kid’s reaction clearly understand how important this is," said O’Bannon.