CARROLLTON, Texas — Lilia Astudillo had family and friends attend her Carrollton home on Monday as they prayed a rosary 40 days after the drug overdose death of her son.
Her son, Jose Alberto Perez, died in late January of fentanyl poisoning. He was found unresponsive in his home.
Fentanyl is why Jose Alberto Perez will forever be 14 years old. Fentanyl is also why his mother met privately with the interim superintendent for Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD on Monday.
"This time it happened to me. You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow and it shouldn't keep happening," Astudillo said in Spanish.
Astudillo and activist Carlos Quintanilla are petitioning for a fund to help families with funeral costs and for an anonymous tip line to catch drug dealers and making drug testing accessible to parents who can't afford it.
"That's a crisis in our community that parents like Lilia Astudillo could not get help for her child," said Quintanilla.
Perez is one of three teenagers who died. Seven more students overdosed and survived.
Those overdoses are likely connected to one drug house. Another overdose was reported Friday in the bathroom at R.L. Turner High School.
An email was sent to to parents alerting them of the news: "This is a community challenge. It will take all of us working together to fight the fentanyl epidemic. We need everyone's help, if you see something, if you hear something, you must say something. Together, we can stop this epidemic."
Astudillo and Quintanilla's petition goes beyond the district. Quintanilla hopes to also appeal to the area's district attorneys.
"Enhance bonds, increase criminal penalties, and declare war against the drug dealers," said Quintanilla.
"l will fight as long as necessary. My son's life mattered to me," Astudillo said.
Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD did not have any comment Monday and said that the meeting was private between the family and the interim superintendent.