Teen found dead at West Philly's Wordsworth Academy after altercation with staff

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Wordsworth Academy.

A 17-year-old boy was found dead Thursday night after an altercation with staff members at the West Philadelphia campus of Wordsworth Academy, a school for children with emotional, behavioral, or academic challenges, police said.

The teen temporarily barricaded himself inside a room and broke furniture and fixtures after staff members had searched the room, police said. When three staffers reentered and tried to calm him down, police said, he began "yelling and striking" the staff members. They tried to "gain control" of the boy, police said, and he lost consciousness.

Staff members - whom police did not identify - tried to revive him through first aid and CPR, but medics pronounced him dead at 9:36 p.m.

The Homicide Unit was investigating, police said, and detectives were awaiting a report from the Medical Examiner's Office.

Police said no one had been charged, and they declined to release the boy's name or identify his hometown.

Meanwhile, the school expressed its concern.

"We are shocked and saddened by the events of last evening, and extend our condolences to the family on the loss we all feel," school spokeswoman Debbie Albert said in a statement Friday afternoon.

School officials were cooperating with authorities, she said.

The school, at 3905 Ford Road in the River Park section of West Philadelphia, is one of three Wordsworth Academy campuses in the region, according to its website. The others are in East Falls and Fort Washington.

Founded in 1952 as the Matthews School, Wordsworth Academy is a nonprofit organization that serves 2,000 children per year, its website says. Its services include a residential treatment program; special-education schools; and other home, school, and community-based programs, such as individual and family therapy or foster care.

cpalmer@phillynews.com

215-854-2817 @cs_palmer

Staff writer Emily Babay contributed to this article.