South Orange Student Hospitalized After 'Blackout Challenge'

A student at an Essex County middle school was hospitalized on Tuesday, April 16, after he tried the "blackout challenge."

South Orange Middle School

South Orange Middle School

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Two students at South Orange Middle School took part in the dangerous stunt, popular on social media, which involves holding one's breath to the point of passing out, Lynn Irby Hill, the principal, said in a letter to parents.

The first student passed out but was treated by the nursing staff, Irby Hill said. The second student had difficulty resuming breathing and was taken to a hospital by ambulance for further evaluation, Irby Hill said. Assistant Principal Jim Waldron accompanied the student to the hospital and he was discharged later that day, Irby Hill said.

Both students were in school Wednesday, April 17, the South Orange-Maplewood School District said. 

"These incidents were very scary and very avoidable," Irby Hill said. "We will continue to warn our students about the dangers of the blackout challenge and most, if not all, challenges promoted on social media."

The rest of the week, Irby Hill and two assistant principals will lead meetings by grade level about these incidents and the dangers of participating in social media challenges. Guidance counselors, social workers, and the school nurse will be assisting with those meetings, the district said. 

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