FULTON COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - At least one of the food items examined by investigators after several students got sick at a Fulton County middle school tested positive for the presence of THC, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Thursday.
According to a news release, the GBI Crime Lab received 46 items of food products from Sandtown Middle School with one of the items that has the appearance of cereal showing the presence of THC.
The announcement comes a week after 28 students at the school got sick after reportedly eating snacks or candy, sparking school officials to notify Grady EMS and South Fulton Fire Rescue for assistance. Medics took all 28 students to one of three Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals for treatment. Three of the sick students stayed in the hospital overnight.
According to the release, the GBI Crime Lab continues to make the complete analysis of all items related to this incident a priority.
The Fulton County Schools Police Department is in charge of the criminal investigation.
The school system will hold a 1 p.m. news conference to share the initial lab results at its headquarters, located at 6201 Powers Ferry Road in Atlanta.
“The GBI test lab has provided confirmation that THC (a chemical compound of cannabis/marijuana) was found in one of the samples from Sandtown Middle School,” said Dr. Shannon Flounnory, executive director of the FCS Division of Safety & Security. “This is an ongoing investigation, but FCS wanted to provide this information to the parents and community as soon as it was available and confirm what we know at this point.”
“The FCS Student Code of Conduct specifically prohibits possession of unauthorized intoxicants on campus,” continued Dr. Flounnory. “We will investigate this thoroughly and will see this through to the fullest extent possible.”
According to a news release from the school district, the Fulton County Schools Police Department will determine if criminal charges will be filed.
Documents released earlier in the week suggest school police investigators have focused their attention on possible edibles, drug-laced treats brought to school for Valentine’s Day.
“Every student’s health, safety and well-being is Fulton County Schools’ top priority, and we continue to support those at Sandtown Middle School who were impacted on February 14,” the Fulton County School District wrote in a statement to FOX 5 News earlier in the week.
The district released a heavily-redacted police incident report on Tuesday which describes how events unfolded as well as interviews with at least 12 students. The report states that homemade Rice Krispy treats and heart-shaped lollipops were taken as evidence following the illnesses.
The report states that students started to report feeling ill around noon. A student was sent to the nurse’s office complaining of an upset stomach and headache. Police said they arrived to find the student disoriented, hallucinating with water red eyes and was “frantically crying off and on.” The officer said some students exhibited signs of drug intoxication.
Twelve students were interviewed by school police giving a litany of food and treats they had eaten that day. That’s how investigators were able to zero in on the two treats. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is testing those treats to determine if they were laced with any drugs.
“Our School Police Department continues to work this case in an extremely methodical and objective manner. Part of the processes includes student interviews, collection of evidence, and a review of initial reports,” the school district wrote.
The school reopened on Wednesday after a school holiday on Friday, Monday and Tuesday. The school brought in extra counselors on Wednesday “to support students with their social/emotional needs.”
According to the Thursday news release, school counselors are available for students, and parents may wish to contact medical professionals if they have additional concerns about the immediate health of their children.
FCS is also providing education and counseling to all students about the dangers of ingesting foods from unknown sources.
“We want to be very clear that Fulton County Schools will follow through to the full extent of the law as well as with the most severe consequences allowed under our Student Disciplinary Code of Conduct should the investigation indicate foul play,” the school district wrote.