Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
Students at a local elementary school may never look at gummies the same way.
Five kids at the Albuquerque School of Excellence shared a box of gummies last week, causing some of them to get sick and some to get “giggly” – and not because they were loaded with sugar.
Rather, the gummies were loaded with THC, a psychoactive chemical found in cannabis.
Kristi Del Curto, the dean of elementary students at the state charter school, said a 9-year-old 5th grader brought a box of gummies she found in her home and shared them with some friends early in the morning in the cafeteria.
“She thought she was sharing candy, and if you saw the picture on the box, it did look like candy,” Del Curto said.
A short time later, the child who brought the gummies began to feel ill while in class and the teacher sent her to the school nurse.
“She told the nurse that she was feeling sick and was very dizzy and that she thought she had food poisoning from something she ate in the cafeteria. The nurse asked her what else she had eaten and she said gummies. We asked to see the box, which had been tossed in the trash after it was empty.”
Del Curto said the box was retrieved from the trash, “and as soon as we looked at it, we said, ‘nope, that is not candy.'”
An announcement was made over the school’s public address system asking any student who ate a gummy in the elementary cafeteria to come to the office. Five students showed up.
Some didn’t feel anything, but others were “giggly,” Del Curto said. The only one who felt a bit ill was the child who brought them from home and apparently had eaten five of them herself, she said.
The school immediately called the parents of all the affected children, as well as contacted paramedics, the state Children, Youth and Families Department, and the Albuquerque Police Department, which confiscated the empty gummy box and took a report.
After being checked out by the paramedics, the children were sent home with their parents. All are now back in school and none had any lasting ill effects.
“We were very lucky,” Del Curto said.
Del Curto said she was told the edible medical marijuana gummies, under the brand name “Incredibles,” belonged to the grandfather of the girl who brought them to school. She added that she was unaware if any charges would be filed in connection with the incident, “but we turned it into a teaching moment for all of us – staff and students.”
An emergency staff meeting was held to make teachers and staff aware of edible marijuana and its many forms.
“A lot of them didn’t know about it, and the police took the box, so we looked on the Internet and showed them some pictures,” she said.
Students were also told about the situation and given a crash course in how to protect themselves.
“We reminded them that this is why we have a policy of no food or drink from homes,” she said.
This will likely become more of an issue, as medical and recreational cannabis products become ever more common, she said. “If parents aren’t keeping cannabis products safely at home and away from children, then how are we supposed to monitor the situation at school?”
The Albuquerque School of Excellence is a grades 1-12 college prep charter school that emphasizes a STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering and math). The school was founded in 2010 and currently has a student population of 558. Students are selected to attend via a lottery.