Police say 7 year old died after eating a peanut, no charges

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT)- Chesterfield County Police said late Friday there was no criminal negligence in the death of 7 year old Amarria Johnson.

Amarria died Monday after having an allergic reaction to a peanut she ate at Hopkins Elementary where she was a first grader.

Investigators have closed the case.

Police said Amarria got the peanut from another child during recess who wasn't aware of her food allergies.

This comes as members of Congress push for EpiPens with life saving medication for kids with allergies to be available in all schools for such emergencies.

Monday's death involving Amarria Johnson hit close to home for Virginia Kenyon.

"That is my worst nightmare to get that telephone call from the school," said Kenyon.

Amarria was allergic to peanuts. Her family says she was aware of her allergies.

She died after eating one on the playground at Hopkins Elementary.

Police said she was taken to the school clinic where a clinic aide tried to help her but Amarria stopped breathing.

After consulting with the Commonwealth's Attorney, it was determined no crime was committed.

Kenyon's nine year old son, Eddie, is severely allergic to peanuts.

His family is vigilant about keeping the fourth grader safe, especially at school.

He carries a prescribed EpiPen in his backpack.

"I've talked to the schools I've worked out plans with them so they know what they need to do," said Kenyon.
EpiPens are allowed in Chesterfield schools, but only for kids with prescriptions.

Two U.S. Congressmen want to change that as well as The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.

Both want EpiPens in school first aid kits so students who don't have prescriptions can have access to the life-saving medication.

Chesterfield school officials are keeping a close eye on the proposed legislation.

"Understanding any certain liability that may take place knowing that it's not prescribed to an individual to a certain child," said Chesterfield Schools Spokesman, Shawn Smith.

Dr. Barry Feinstein, who specializes in food allergies, said an EpiPen shot would not be lethal to a child who doesn't have food allergies.

Side effects, including nervousness, last about 20 minutes.

"This could save lives just like this girl this week," said Kenyon.

The Senate bill is in committee as well as a companion House bill.

Amarria Johnson's cause of death is listed as cardiac arrest and anaphylaxis.

She will be laid to rest at noon Saturday at 5th Street Baptist Church.

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