Mom demands action after son gets marijuana gummy at Livonia charter school

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Krystle Hall was alarmed to hear the voicemail hours after her 11-year-old son had gone to school Monday morning.

A staffer called to tell her that Kamari, a fifth grader at Grand River Academy in Livonia, was given a marijuana edible and, on the advice of a poison control specialist, would be headed to a hospital.

Hall said she learned a classmate handed her son a drug-laced gummy but failed to inform him of the ingredients.

Production of gummies with 10 milligrams of THC at PTS Corp., a cannabis processing center in Warren.

Though Kamari appears to be recovering after reporting feeling ill, she no longer wants him or his sister at the charter school after the academic year ends next month. She also is demanding action.

"It's unacceptable," Hall said Wednesday. "I understand that this is a school and there are hundreds of kids, but something has to be done."

Grand River Academy, a K-8 school, is overseen by National Heritage Academies.

In a statement Thursday, spokeswoman Leah Nixon said: "While edibles like these look like candy, they certainly are not — and parents need to take responsibility to keep these kinds of products out of the reach of their children. While we try to keep an eye on everything our students bring to school, that’s simply not possible."

Nixon added: "We recognize this is a disturbing situation for any family and are working directly with the families of those students who were involved. We have also taken this opportunity to remind parents we have a zero-tolerance policy for bringing banned items to school."

In a letter to parents dated Monday, which The Detroit News obtained, principal Ralph Garza described the incident as prompting a visit from emergency personnel.

“A student brought in a banned item and shared it with a classmate,” he said.

"While student privacy rights prevent me from sharing specific details, what I can share is that the safety and well-being of our school community remains our highest priority. The student involved will be disciplined in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.”

The incident came weeks after another high-profile episode at the school.

In April, representatives confirmed a kindergartner shared cups of a premixed tequila cocktail with classmates.

Hall's conversation about the incident with her children was fresh in mind as she raced to the emergency room Monday, where Kamari had been transported by ambulance.

The staffer who called her earlier told Hall the boy appeared "a little bit sleepy, but he is not sick or anything like that," according to the voicemail The News reviewed.

Kamari reported feeling unwell shortly after eating the edible, his mother said.

A teacher alerted other staffers after noticing him leaving a restroom and appearing disoriented, Hall said.

Kamari told staffers he had consumed the gummy his classmate gave him.

That classmate also was sent to receive medical attention, Nixon said.

At Beaumont in Livonia, Hall's son was tested then released Monday afternoon with instructions to monitor for symptoms, she said.

He also had a follow-up appointment with his physician Wednesday and has returned to class. 

Hall said police who met her at the hospital Monday told the family charges were unlikely.

And while a school employee who accompanied her son to Beaumont vowed to investigate the incident, she said no one has reached out since then or offered more details.

"They have to be held accountable some type of way," Hall said.

In her statement Thursday, Nixon said: "Since we have had two recent instances where children brought banned substances to school, we are taking a look at changes we may need to make to ensure this doesn’t happen again. We can’t stress strongly enough the responsibility parents have in ensuring their children bring only appropriate food and beverages to school."

The academy incident came weeks after a similar one at a Genesee County school.

Authorities found that a pupil brought THC oil-infused gummies to an elementary school that sickened pupils.

The child's mother was charged last week with second-degree child abuse.