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GBI: This drug was found in food from Sandtown Middle School after students hospitalized

28 students were hospitalized on Valentine's Day after eating candy at the school.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said its tests found THC in some of the food taken from Sandtown Middle School after more than two dozen students were hospitalized on Valentine's Day.

Twenty-eight students were taken to the hospital after at least some of them ate “heart-shaped lollipops” or “rice krispy treats” on Valentine's Day. They appeared “disoriented, hallucinating with watery, red eyes and frantically crying off and on,” according to a report from the Fulton County School Police Department. Other symptoms were stomach pains, headache and dizziness. 

Fulton County Schools submitted the candy to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for testing. On Thursday, the GBI said its crime lab found the presence of THC in a food item that had the appearance of cereal.

"The GBI Crime Lab continues to make the complete analysis of all items related to this incident a priority," the GBI said in a statement.

THC is the "main psychoactive ingredient" in cannabis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Students returned to class for the first time since the incident on Wednesday. The school system had previously said that given the suspicions and the resulting conversation in the community about edibles – or food/candy containing drugs – it is preparing a campaign that educates students on the dangers of taking or eating foods that come from an unknown source. 

Since the GBI announced one sample testing positive for a drug, the school system has held a conference where they discussed their plans moving forward.  They also clarified that not all of the students who were hospitalized may have ingested the laced treats.

"During the time that we are dealing with an issue, if a student comes to us and says they don't feel well, we don't have the discretion to say, 'Nah, that's probably a headache,' OK," Executive Director of Safety and Security Shannon Flounnory said. "If something is out there and it has the tendency to run like a wildfire."

As for bringing in candy and baked goods from the outside, the school system said they already have policies in place where only food approved by teachers and administrators is allowed in. And while the treats and candy were given out on a popular candy-centric holiday, officials said this particular batch hadn't been approved by anyone.

That policy had only been on the books in Fulton County Schools for the past year. Academic Officer Cliff Jones said he didn't have data on how it has been enforced since it went into effect but previously pointed out that there is no case where "edibles" laced with drugs are OK in any Fulton County school.

"Let me be very clear, Rule 11 in our code of conduct states possession or distribution - those two, possession or distribution can result in student discipline which can end up in a tribunal which is long-term suspension and expulsion," he said.

RELATED: 28 Sandtown Middle School students hospitalized: What we know

RELATED: 28 students hospitalized after eating candy, falling ill on Valentine's Day

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