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Dozens Of Middle Schoolers Allegedly Fell Ill From Valentine's Day Sweets

The children complained of feeling disoriented and nauseous after eating candies and snacks that had been brought to the school from home.

Posted on February 15, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. ET

WSB-TV 2

Twenty-eight Georgia middle school students were taken to the hospital on Valentine’s Day with complaints of nausea and disorientation after eating candies and snacks that had been brought to the school.

Most of the students, who were all from Sandtown Middle School outside of Atlanta, have been released, according to a spokesperson from the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospital system. The cause of the illness is still under investigation.

"Of the 28 students transported to local hospitals yesterday, 25 have been released to their parents/guardians," a spokesperson for the Fulton County School System said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News.

"At this time, we cannot confirm that food or candy was the source of the students’ illnesses, but it is being investigated."

Students and parents speaking to local news stations said that students had been distributing what one student described as Rice Krispies and lollipops before school staffers came around telling them not to eat anything that they hadn’t brought from their own home.

“They told us not to eat any of the candy that they had. They were like Rice Krispies and stuff, like lollipops,” an unnamed student told NBC 11.

“They were, like, all over the place,” the student added.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will likely be testing the sweets to determine what caused the children to fall ill. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the bureau said that it was still waiting on the evidence and samples for testing.

Fulton County Schools said it was customary to include an agency like the GBI to perform testing of the potentially contaminated food.

"Until the investigation is complete, the school system cannot make a determination of what caused students’ illnesses, its origin, if there was a deliberate, wrongful act committed, or if criminal charges or student discipline will be levied," the schools spokesperson said.

South Fulton Mayor Bill Edwards wrote in a Facebook post that it seemed like all of the affected students were from the same class, and that everything was under control.

“I would like to inform our citizens that everything is under control as it seems that the incident was with children in the same class,” he wrote.

“I know that people are using the terms like active incident, but trust me everybody performed superbly,” he added.

Video taken from the scene appeared to show students on stretchers and showed multiple ambulances.

A spokesperson for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospital system said the children's primary symptoms were altered mental states and increased heart rates.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta also confirmed that students from Sandtown Middle School were treated at the Hughes Spalding, Egleston, and Scottish Rite hospital branches. A statement from the city of South Fulton said some students were also taken to Grady’s Hospital, but a spokesperson at that hospital declined to comment.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Sandtown Middle School Principal Estella Cook and the South Fulton Police Department for comment.

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