Bay Area students fall sick from 'pot brownies'

January 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
School district officials say last week, one girl and four boys from Logan High School ate brownies they thought contained marijuana. Authorities are now investigating whether those brownies may have been laced with heroin or other drugs after some of the students became violently ill.

The five students involved range from freshmen to seniors and they were all back in school Tuesday. Physically, they are fine. Academically, they could be in trouble for purchasing and ingesting marijuana, a controlled substance. Marijuana however, was not the substance that made them sick. Some parents are infuriated.

"Absolutely unacceptable. Unacceptable," said Jennifer Vargas-Bennett, mother of two Logan High School students, as she reacted to the district's automated phone call on Friday advising her that some students last week had become seriously ill, two hospitalized, after buying and eating marijuana brownies that contained something far more dangerous.

"This is a problem. We should have had a letter at home yesterday, mandatory autograph on the paper. Tonight, we should be having us parents here discussing the situation," she said.

The school district says it is waiting for toxicology results and a police investigation to tell them exactly what it was that made the students so sick. Students told ABC7 that the sickening substance was heroin, adding that they got that information from faculty members.

"Somebody out there is trying to harm children and that's infuriating," said Rick La Plante with the New Haven School District. "It's bad enough if it's marijuana brownies. But, if they're lacing it with something else trying to injure children, that takes it to a whole different level."

A student who witnessed one of the medical emergencies described what she saw.

"He asked the teacher to go outside and then he immediately collapsed on the floor. His eyes were bulging out," she said. "He couldn't speak. So, when he went to the hospital he regained it, and then he's back this week."

Bill Burviance is not upset with the school district, or even that worried about his granddaughter Laelonie Zamora who he drove to school Tuesday morning.

"She's smart enough to know not to take any," he said.

But, the image of police, ambulances and very sick students is affecting Zamora.

"Very scared," she said. "Like, someone doing this to our school, our friends and all the family that's getting this word that their child's in the hospital because of brownies."

Union City police say they are still investigating the case and cannot confirm that there was heroin in the brownies. They cannot even confirm that every student who got sick ate some of the brownies. They only say there was a spike in medical emergencies at the school.

La Plante said officials do not believe the brownies from Logan are linked to similar incidents at two other Union City-area schools; Cesar Chavez Middle School and Conley-Caraballo High School.

He explained that a student at the middle school became sick on campus after eating a marijuana brownie provided by the child's mother. Child Protective Services were notified. A student at the continuation high school also was caught with a marijuana brownie on campus, but because that occurred on Jan. 7, officials do not believe the cases are linked.


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