Sacramento middle school student dies following breathing problems in PE class


An eighth-grade student at Leonardo da Vinci School died after being rushed to the hospital following a medical emergency during physical education class Wednesday afternoon, school officials reported.

Assistant Principal Tiffany Ballard identified the student as Mai See Lee. She was in a PE class after lunch when she “had difficulty breathing,” Ballard said.

The school called 911 and paramedics arrived at the Sacramento campus to take Lee to UC Davis Medical Center, Ballard said. Lee was not performing strenuous physical activities at the time, she said.

Lee began attending Leonardo da Vinci K-8 School in September 2015 as a seventh-grader after attending Oak Ridge Elementary. Ballard described Lee as a “typical middle school girl” who enjoyed music, makeup and art. Lee also participated in cultural Hmong dances within her community, Ballard said.

“She was the kindest, sweetest young lady, and we are really missing her,” Ballard said.

A crisis intervention team went to the school Thursday to provide counseling for students and teachers. Ballard said students were crafting cards for Lee’s family as well as dedicating a classroom mural in her honor. The school’s student body president created a fundraising page to collect donations for her family.

The school was in contact with Lee’s family members and is available to provide any services that they may need, Ballard said. Lee had two younger siblings, a sister and brother, enrolled in different schools.

“I think they’re grieving as any family that lost a young daughter would be,” Ballard said of Lee’s family.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets