After being served breakfast, kids started complaining about the milk, which they described as “tasting bad and burning,” according to an email sent out to parents from the school district. At least one chid was treated at nearby hospital Bartlett Regional following the mixup, Superintendent Bridget Weiss told the Associated Press.
So how the hell did this happen?
The incident occurred at Eeti Shaanáx̱-Glacier Valley Elementary’s RALLY day care program. The kids, ages 5 to 12, are served breakfast daily from a dispenser provided by a contractor. The milk, in particular, comes in large plastic bags that are stored inside cardboard boxes. The sealant — which is odorless and milky white — also comes packaged in a plastic bag and stored in a cardboard box.
“It was confused for milk, which sounds hard to believe, but if you have used anything yourself it is similar,” Weiss told The Independent.
Both the floor sealant and the milk had been previously stored at an off-site district commodity storage site. Weiss believes that somehow, the boxes of sealant were “stored or moved on the same pallet as large pouches of milk that were also in cardboard boxes.”
“We don’t know how that happened, but they were all put on the same pallet,” she said. “That pallet was delivered, and the assumption was that it was milk because that’s what we thought was being delivered,” Weiss continued.
Fortunately, district standards dictates that any chemical products used in schools has to have a low ingestion risk.
“That was true of the sealant, so our students are doing fine,” she said.
So far, the largest health issue was a couple of upset stomachs. The superintendent did note that two additional students’ parents opted to take them to the hospital after the mixup to be safe.
An investigation is already underway to determine why food items and chemicals you absolutely should not ingest were stored in the same place. Juneau police don’t believe there is “anything criminal or mal-intent at this point,” Weiss noted, adding that the school wants “a thorough investigation of what happened, how it happened, and they’re trained investigators.”
The school program is back up and running, and the staff had a food inspector on site Wednesday to confirm that proper safety protocols were in place.