The Wayland Union School District is getting a lot of media attention this week, but probably not the kind local officials would like.
Virtually all West Michigan TV media outlets Wednesday reported that two high school students were hospitalized after falling ill Saturday night at the Homecoming dance. Local police suspect drinks served at the dance were tampered with, but school officials said there is no hard evidence yet. They don’t believe there was anything in the food, because that was pre-packaged.
Wayland City Police Chief Mark Garnsey and Superintendent Dr. Christina Hinds were present at a news conference Wednesday afternoon to answer questions.
Hinds said Wednesday that all students who had been sick now are back in school. She and Wayland High School Principal Tom Cutler Monday sent a communication to families and staff about the incident.
Laurie Zywiczynski, the school district’s director of community relations, said one of the two victims went to the hospital via ambulance and several other students reported feeling unwell. Drinks were removed as soon as staff members learned of several students feeling sick and the possibility of contamination.
Specific details about the symptoms cannot be shared at this time because of the continuing investigation
A Wayland City police officer was on-site during the entire dance. Another officer was intermittently present. The officers took the beverages into custody for further investigation and testing as soon as it became apparent some students were getting sick.
Results of the testing are not yet available. School district officials said they have reviewed video footage and were unable to find evidence of anyone tampering with the drinks. However, local police officers are reviewing the video further.
As a precautionary measure, the district is reviewing methods of serving drinks at school dances and events.
We need your help in this thorough investigation. A cash reward is being offered by the Allegan County Silent Observer program for anyone who provides information which leads to the identification and arrest of a suspect(s) who illegally caused students to ingest drugs or any substance that caused the illness.
Those who have any information are asked to reach out by calling Silent Observer at 1-855-SILENT-0 and/or the Wayland Police Department at (269) 792-9366.