• 9 Investigates: Parents want answers about death of Lake Silver Elementary student

    By: Len Kiese , Johny Fernandez


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The parents of a little girl told Eyewitness News Thursday that the Orange County School District was not clear about just how sick their 6-year-old was feeling.

    Jaleah Florence, a Lake Silver Elementary student, died Jan. 22 shortly after she got off the school bus, officials said.

    “It’s 100 things that go on throughout the day and that’s the last thing that I ever thought would happen,” said Jaleah’s father, Vince Deloney.

    A spokesperson for the district previously told Eyewitness News that the parents told faculty members to put the girl on the bus after the parents were called to pick up the child.

    “There was nothing wrong with Jaleah when she left the house that morning,” Deloney said.

    Read: Timeline: Details surrounding death of Lake Silver Elementary student

    The family’s lawyer said Thursday that the father was misinformed when he told the district to put Jaleah on the bus.

    Deloney said he received one phone call at the end of the school day that Jaleah threw up once after snack time.

    “She (the nurse) made it sound as if she (Jaleah) just had an incident and she’s calling us letting us know she had that incident,” Deloney said to Channel 9's Len Kiese.

    Video: School district's reaction to student's death

    “That was the very first call that I got, was at 3 o’clock to inform me that she had thrown up, and she was holding the bus for her and was it OK to put her on the bus,” said stepmother Stephanie Reyes.

    Jaleah was put on the bus and her 11-year-old brother said she immediately threw up and became sicker during the 6-mile ride home. The 11-year-old carried his sister off the bus, but she collapsed before she made it home, the father said.

    People nearby performed CPR, but Jaleah died at the hospital.

    An attorney for the family said they want to know more from the school.

    "It seemed like an emergent situation. Why did the school go into defense mode, so fast? Why was the narrative portrayed (that) they had contacted the family and made it seem like it was an emergent situation, when in fact, it was not portrayed like that to the family," attorney Ortavia Simon said.

    The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said the child had a medical condition, but the medical examiner’s office said it could take up to 10 weeks to determine a cause of death.

    Jaleah had asthma, but her father said it wasn’t severe.

    The district issued a statement Thursday that read, “We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our students. The family’s desire for immediate answers is understandable, but the loss of a child’s life deserves a thorough investigation. We are also waiting for additional information and it would be inappropriate to provide any response until the investigation has been completed.”

    The school bus Florence rode home was taken out of service with a note that read “quarantine.” 

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