School community mourns loss of student to bacterial meningitis

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Parents are meeting with school officials and health experts, getting all their questions answered after the tragic death of a North Philadelphia student.

After school on Wednesday, students released balloons into the sky above George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science.

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Parents came to a Philadelphia school to learn more about the tragic death of a student from bacterial meningitis.

On Monday morning, their classmate, 15-year-old Jonathon Briggs, went home early because he was feeling ill. A ninth grader at the magnet school, he died Tuesday of bacterial meningitis at a local hospital.

Kyree Hence is a senior student at the school. He tells us, "He was one of the coolest people I met here of the freshman so far, and I feel for the kid."

Robert Dubose, a junior, says, "He's just a real cool kid. He had a lot of fun. He would joke around. Just a cool kid."

PHOTOS: Student dies from bacterial meningitis

Principal Ted Domer explains, "This day has been devastating. The past two days - there's really not words to put into place what the days have been like."

Students were informed Tuesday and a letter went home to parents explaining that bacterial meningitis is transmitted through very close contact and their children are not considered at risk. Still, parents had questions and concerns they hope will be answered at a school meeting Wednesday evening.

Arlene Lassiter and Stacy Warner are among the concerned parents.

RAW VIDEO: Bacterial meningitis death

"She's a little scared today, and I had reservations sending her because she's stressed," Lassiter said of her daughter.

And Warner tells us, "I am concerned. I do plan on being at the meeting at 6 o'clock."

Briggs was remembered Wednesday as a happy young man, a good student, and an athlete who played on the JV basketball team this past year.

Basketball Coach Kristin Jones says "I feel for his mother. I can't imagine what that is for her. This is such a great family. I know that they're thinking about these kids. They're wondering if these kids are okay."

Coach Jones added that she plans to retire Briggs' number, 44.

For more information about bacterial meningitis, you can call the City Health Dept./Division of Disease Control hotline: 215-685-6740.

Online: Information from CDC on Bacterial Meningitis
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