This photo shows Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ - Glacier Valley Elementary School. (Juneau Empire File)

This photo shows Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ - Glacier Valley Elementary School. (Juneau Empire File)

12 kids ingested floor sealant served as milk during summer program, according to school district

Investigation is underway.

A dozen students and two adults ingested floor sealant served as milk Tuesday morning during a summer program at a school, according to Juneau School District officials.

One child received medical treatment at Bartlett Regional Hospital after consuming the substance, according to the district, and two more were picked up from the RALLY program at Sitʼ Eeti Shaanáx̱ – Glacier Valley Elementary School and may have sought medical advice. RALLY sites at Harborview Elementary School and Mendenhall River Community School were unaffected, according to Superintendent Bridget Weiss.

“Tonight there is a lot — as you can imagine because this is concerning — of information out there that may or may not be accurate,” she told the Juneau Board of Education at its regularly scheduled Tuesday evening meeting. “We don’t have a lot of information yet because this literally transpired today.”

Shortly after breakfast was served “students complained of the milk tasting bad and burning their mouth/throat,” according to an email sent by the district to parents and shared with the Empire.

RALLY serves kids 5-12, according to the district.

According to the district, all “breakfast components” were served by NANA Management Services staff and placed on trays, which children brought to a cafeteria to consume.

“It was confused for milk, which sounds hard to believe, but if you have used anything yourself it is similar,” Weiss said. ”It is milky, white fluid.”

After the complaints, district and NMS staff smelled and tasted the substance thought to be milk and examined the container and label, according to the district.

“It was found that the ‘milk’ served was actually a floor sealant resembling liquid milk,” the district’s email to parents stated. “Staff immediately directed students to stop consuming the substance and removed it.”

The message continued: “Twelve students ingested the chemicals. The RALLY site manager immediately contacted poison control. All steps provided by poison control were carefully followed and parents/guardians of the students who ingested the chemicals were informed of the incident.”

The district food service and RALLY supervisors followed up with NMS staff to ensure the served product was disposed of, according to the district, and the remaining product was removed from the premises and placed in chemical storage. The district food service supervisor and NMS assistant general manager went to the off-site district commodity storage and had district custodial staff remove the product as a safety measure.

An investigation into the incident is ongoing and is assisted by the district, City and Borough of Juneau, NMS and Juneau Police Department, according to the district.

The school board was scheduled to consider a contract extension with NANA management services for 2022-23 food services during its Tuesday night meeting. The item was unanimously removed without discussion from the agenda at the start of the meeting.

Contact reporter Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com.

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