North Carolina Teacher Dies Unexpectedly in Classroom: Officials

September 4, 2020 Updated: September 4, 2020

A North Carolina elementary teacher died while in her classroom earlier this week, officials said.

Cindy Grindstaff, 50, a fifth-grade teacher at W.A. Young Elementary, was at the school for a training session, officials told the News-Herald of Morganton.

No students were inside the classroom or were being taught online when she died, officials told the paper.

The cause of death was not released by officials, according to the outlet. Grindstaff had been employed in the school district since 2002.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam informed school staff about her death.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share with you some sad news,” Putnam wrote. “This morning at W.A. Young Elementary, Ms. Cindy Grindstaff, 5th-grade teacher, unexpectedly passed away in her classroom. I ask that you keep Cindy’s sister, Tracy Poole, 5th-grade teacher at Hildebran, and her family in your prayers.”

Authorities told Channel 9 that her death was likely due to an undisclosed medical problem.

The uncle of a boy who attended her class said she went out of her way to help him.

“He was very, very, very upset,” Pittman said of the child, who learned of her death. “He didn’t know what to say. He really didn’t. He was confused and sat there with a blank look on his face.”

Another parent said that she put her students first.

“She was just trying to help me give him a pep talk and encouragement of getting it done,” Thomas Peters said, according to Channel 9. “She did really well with the kids, and I hate that this happened to her.”