South Gate teacher gets meningitis and dies, and parents worry about health risks

Concerned parents gather at Montara Avenue Elementary School in South Gate for a meeting with school officials Monday morning after it was announced that a third-grade teacher died of bacterial meningitis.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A teacher at Montara Avenue Elementary School in South Gate died last week after contracting meningitis, leading parents to worry about whether their children might have been exposed.

The Los Angeles Unified School District issued a statement saying the Los Angeles County Public Health Department "is taking appropriate measures to identify and protect those who may have come in contact with our employee. They have provided preventative antibiotics, as well as information about meningococcal disease."

Parents gathered in front of the school Monday morning.

Public health officials also arrived to share more information with parents, said L.A. Unified spokeswoman Barbara Jones.

"We realize that our teacher’s death from a meningococcal bacteria-related illness may be causing concern. However, we want to assure our students, families and employees that their health and safety remain the district's top priority," the L.A. Unified statement said.

"L.A. Unified was notified late Friday of the cause of our teacher’s death."

District officials said they could not share the identity of the teacher for privacy reasons, but other news outlets have identified her as third-grade teacher Ramona Gedney.

A 2012 photo of Ramona Gedney (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

According to the Los Angeles County coroner's office, Gedney, who was 39, was pronounced dead in a Downey hospital Feb. 6. Coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said Monday morning that the cause of death had not been finalized. 

Some are sharing memories of Gedney on Facebook.

Reach Sonali Kohli at or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.