Students faked ingesting unknown substance, feeling sick to get out of class, sheriff says

Officials said it was determined that none of the students ingested any unknown substance and...
Officials said it was determined that none of the students ingested any unknown substance and no foul play is suspected.(Daniel Tadevosyan/Getty Images via Canva)
Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 3:25 PM MDT
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HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (Gray News) – Five students at a private school in Florida appeared to have faked ingesting an unknown substance in order to get out of class, officials said.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were called to Grace Education Academy in Spring Hill on Monday afternoon for reports of several students experiencing an adverse reaction to something they drank out of a water bottle.

When deputies arrived, they learned that as students played outside, one of them passed out. Staff initially suspected that the student had become overheated and/or dehydrated while outside.

While staff asked other students for information on what happened, several of them alleged that the student mixed his medication into his water bottle, which multiple students drank.

During this time, five other students who had claimed they drank from the water bottle began acting lethargic. Staff called law enforcement, believing the children were experiencing an adverse reaction to something they ingested from the water bottle.

Several students were taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Through investigation, deputies learned that the initial student in question (the owner of the water bottle) did not have access to any medication at the time and said it was not probable that he placed medicines in the water bottle.

Detectives said they audited the student’s medication to verify that all pills were accounted for and sent the water bottle to a lab for testing by forensic specialists.

Doctors also ran toxicology screenings on the hospitalized students, all of which returned negative for any medication and/or foreign substances.

Deputies said the investigation revealed that the first student passed out due to dehydration, and the five other students pretended to be ill to get out of class and go home.

Officials said it was determined that none of the students ingested an unknown substance, and no foul play was suspected.

Deputies did not clarify the age of the students involved, but according to Grace Education Academy’s website, the school is for children ages newborn to 12th grade.