Two arrested after Amherst Co. elementary students eat fentanyl-positive gummies, officials say

We’re told seven Central Elementary School students had allergic reactions on Tuesday, five sought medical treatment

AMHERST CO., Va.UPDATE

Two people were arrested Wednesday morning after several Amherst County fourth-grade students ate gummy bears that tested positive for fentanyl, according to the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office.

During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, officials said one of the seven students involved in the incident brought the bag of gummies to the Central Elementary School. and shared them with six other students during lunch.

[WATCH: Amherst Co. officials hold press conference after Central Elementary students eat fentanyl-positive gummies]

Authorities said the SRO at the school saw residue in the baggie, which was then tested and indicated a positive result for fentanyl.

We’re told the baggie will be sent to the DEA lab for more testing and confirmation.

A search warrant was then issued for a residence on Pendleton Drive in Amherst County, according to the sheriff’s office.

Twenty-six-year-old Nicole Sanders and 50-year-old Clifford Dugan Jr. were arrested as a result, and are now facing felony charges in connection with the childrens’ fentanyl-related illnesses.

Sanders has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and the possession of a schedule I or II drug, and Dugan Jr. has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Both suspects are still in custody, according to online court records. Sanders is being held at the Amherst County Adult Detention Center with a $1,000 and $1,500 bond, and Dugan is being held at the Amherst County Adult Detention Center with no bond

During the press conference, Amherst County Superintendent William Wells announced that the students impacted were released from the hospital Tuesday night.

10 News spoke with some parents after the news conference Wednesday afternoon.

One mom said her five-year-old daughter was offered one of the gummies.

Another parent, Michelle Crago, was happy with the school’s response.

“I feel safe they feel comfortable telling the truth.”

Superintendent Wells had a message for all parents.

“This is not a school issue ... the fentanyl came from somebody’s house ... I ask our parents to take charge .. it’s here and it’s real.”

Stay with 10 News as this breaking news story develops.


UPDATE

Amherst County Public Schools has provided an update after seven elementary-aged kids had allergic reactions and sought out medical treatment on Tuesday.

Seven students at Central Elementary School had an allergic reaction to gummy bears that they ate at school on Tuesday, according to the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office.

Of those seven students, five of them went to get medical help, according to Amherst Co. Public Schools. Two were taken by Amherst County EMS and the three others were taken by their parents.

Officials said the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office conducted a field test on the bag that contained the gummies the students ate, which tested positive for fentanyl, according to deputies.

ACPS wrote in a social media post that the fentanyl residue was in a ziplock bag and said the area where the students were sitting had been wiped down with a sanitizing solution.

We’re told the bag was brought from home by a student. It was not immediately clear if that student was one of the seven who had an allergic reaction on Tuesday.

The investigation is ongoing.

The students’ names and ages were not shared.

10 News has reached out to ACPS and the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about exactly what happened.

Stay with 10 News as this story develops


ORIGINAL STORY

Amherst County authorities and school leaders are investigating after elementary school students had allergic reactions and sought out medical treatment on Tuesday.

We’re told seven students at Central Elementary School had an allergic reaction to something they ingested at school. Division leaders did not clarify what exactly they ate.

Of those seven students, five of them went to get medical help, according to Amherst Co. Public Schools. Two were taken by Amherst County EMS and the three others were taken by their parents.

“Amherst County Public Schools, in cooperation with Amherst County Public Safety and the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office, is currently in the process of investigating the cause of the illness,” division leaders said in the release, in part. “The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority.”

The students experienced upset stomachs and headaches, according to Brittany McNerney, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent.


About the Authors

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

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