Alaska elementary school apologises after serving floor sealant instead of milk to kids

·2 min read
The Glacier Valley Elementary School is seen in Juneau, Alaska. A dozen students and two adults were served floor sealant instead of milk at the school after containers were apparently mixed up (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The Glacier Valley Elementary School is seen in Juneau, Alaska. A dozen students and two adults were served floor sealant instead of milk at the school after containers were apparently mixed up (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A morning mix-up at an elementary school in Alaska led to a dozen students ingesting floor sealant instead of milk, which officials say they thought was being served.

The sealant, according to the Juneau Empire, had been mistakenly loaded into the same dispenser used for the milk that students from the school’s summer program drank from and led to at least one child requiring medical attention at the nearby Bartlett Regional Hospital.

Juneau School District Superintendent, Bridget Weiss, confirmed at a Tuesday night meeting that two more students who were picked up from the summer program at the Glacier Elementary School may have also sought medical advice.

Two adults at the program also reportedly consumed the floor protectant.

Students between the ages of five and 12 who were attending the summer program had reportedly consumed the chemical substance at breakfast time and shortly after began complaining “of the milk tasting bad and burning” in their throats and mouths, the district said in an email to parents, obtained by the newspaper.

The children were served by NANA Management Services, Ms Weiss said, and noted that once students began lodging complaints, they began investigating the container labels of what they thought was milk, only to discover that the clear plastic bags that had been loaded into the dispenser was in fact floor sealant.

“It was confused for milk, which sounds hard to believe, but if you have used anything yourself it is similar,” Ms Weiss said, highlighting that both substances are “milky, white fluids”.

The superintendent went on to explain that the cause behind the dangerous mix-up could have been the result of the products being stored in the same facility, the Associated Press reported.

“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.”

An investigation into why the food product and the chemicals were being stored in the same building has been opened by the City and Borough of Juneau, the NMS and the Juneau Police Department, alongside the school district.

The school superintendent noted in her Tuesday night address that while there were some students who still had upset stomachs, others were feeling well, and that was likely because chemical products must have a low ingestion risk, according to school standards.

“That was true of the sealant, so our students are doing fine,” she said.

The staff who served the food, who were contractors from NANA Management services, offer food-handling services for both public and private institutions.

The Independent reached out to the company but did not hear back from them immediately.