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Hayes County billboard shows faces of students who died from fentanyl

HAYS COUNTY, TX (KXAN) — Just one week to 2023, a Hays CISD student has died of a fentanyl overdose. The Hayes County Sheriff’s Office told KXAN that this happened on January 2nd.

“To kick off the new year, we already have a Hays CISD student who sadly passed away from fentanyl-related poisoning,” said Anthony Hipolito, Hays County Deputy Sheriff.

It’s been an ongoing battle for the school district since four students overdosed last year.

The news came when a fentanyl billboard was unveiled near I-35 in Kyle.

It depicts three Hays CISD students who died from fentanyl in 2022. The people behind the billboard are the parents of these students.

The idea originally came from parent Janelle Rodriguez, who lost her son Noah to fentanyl in August 2022.

“You know, it was very exciting to see it. But I’m very proud,” Rodriguez said.

“For those boys’ faces to be there… these kids can see like it’s real life,” Rodriguez said.

Shannon and Darren McConville were in complete agreement with this idea. Their son Kevin died just a few weeks before Noah.

“Millions of people drive this freeway every day. The more information we provide to the public, to our community, then hopefully we can all come together and try to stop this,” Darren said.

The news of the death of the last Hays CISD student hit Rodriguez hard, but she said it also pushes her and others to keep raising her voice.

“It just makes me want to fight even harder. I will do everything in my power to let these kids know that this is not a joke,” said Rodriguez.

One way she does this is through the Forever15Project website, where she spreads awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

The Hayes County Sheriff’s Office reported 37 fentanyl overdoses in 2022, 14 of which involved minors between the ages of 13 and 17.

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