Students sent to hospital after 13-year-old brings drug-laced treats to school
BAKER - Paramedics were called to Advantage Charter Academy in Baker Thursday after five kids fell ill due to drug-laced Rice Krispies treats.
Police say a 13-year-old girl gave the edibles to four of her friends, but the effects from the sweets were much more intense than that of a sugar rush.
The students felt hallucinations, hyperventilation, and panic after eating the snacks, leading to school officials contacting medical personnel for urgent care. Three of them were taken to a hospital for further treatment.
Officials tell WBRZ it appears the 13-year-old was aware that the food was laced with drugs prior to distributing them to her friends, though did not disclose what that substance was when questioned by authorities.
Police say a sample of the edible was sent in for testing. The drug has not yet been identified.
"I blame the parents, man. The kids do whatever they see the parents do and that's just real," Chris Anderson said about the situation as he delivered packages to the school.
"Somebody needs to take responsibility for that, whoever is giving it to the kids," one concerned mother said.
The incident sparked a new fear for parents as they are now concerned about the food their kids have access to while at school.
Darrell Hawthorne was picking his son up from school Thursday afternoon after receiving both a phone call and a text from the school, notifying him of the incident.
Hawthorne says typically, he sends his son with a packed lunch but not out of fear, just preference.
Now, Hawthorne says he will be even more persistent with packed lunches and have a talk with his son about the dangers of foods potentially laced with drugs.
When WBRZ asked Hawthorne what he will be telling his son, he said, "If we didn't give it to you, don't eat it."
One doctor at Our Lady of the Lake who specializes in pediatrics says it can be easy for parents to glaze over the much-needed lesson on drug exposure, but encourages families to use this incident to start the conversation.
"We sometimes forget that we need to do that, but it's never too early as long as age-appropriate language is used to talk with kids about exposure to drugs," Dr. Ashley Lucas said.
Dr. Lucas says it's best to casually bring up the topic in conversation.
"While we don't want to scare them, it's best to tell them that we trust the school's food, the cafeteria food. We trust food we've sent from home, but we don't want to be taking in food from other homes or other families," Dr. Lucas said.
Encouraging open communication between parents and children to ensure comfort and trust, Dr. Lucas says that is one of the most important parts in preventing a situation like this.
"It's really good for parents to listen to their children. First, you want to teach kids you will listen to them because you want your kids to come to you and not hide it from you, thinking they can't go to you with something like this. The important thing is just to get started with these conversations," Dr. Lucas said.
After reaching out to Advantage Charter Academy several times Thursday, a spokesperson with the school responded via email with the following statement:
We have no higher priority than the health and safety of our students. After the incident that occurred on our school’s campus this afternoon requiring a response by emergency personnel, school leaders immediately began an investigation. Student privacy rights prevent me from sharing specific details.
This is an ongoing investigation.
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