Ballou students get sick after eating apples brought by teacher - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Ballou students get sick after eating apples brought by teacher

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An apple a day is supposed to keep the doctor away, but that wasn't the case at Ballou Senior High School Monday morning. As many as nine students were sickened after eating apples given to them by their Spanish teacher.

Three of the students were taken to Children's Hospital with stomach pains.

Sophomore Kannisha Brown was in the Spanish class and ate one of the apples give to the 25 students.

"My stomach was hurting for a little while, but it was nothing serious like the rest of them," she says.

D.C. Fire and EMS crews responded to the school. They tested the apples and the air quality to ensure there wasn't more of a threat. Battalion Fire Chief Maxim Saunders says he believes the students had allergic reactions.

"We're starting to think now that maybe these students were just allergic to apples or whatever type of pesticide was used on the apples," he says.

According to a D.C. school official, the teacher brings the apples from her parent's farm in Pennsylvania every year around test time as a treat. Brown says she doesn't think the teacher meant any harm.

"She's a nice teacher. She's a very good teacher. I don't think she'd do such a thing," says Brown.

The incident is raising questions about outside treats brought into schools.

Many like Ballou Senior High School prohibit junk food and sugary snacks. An apple should have been an ideal treat, but now some parents are saying no outside food for their kids at all.

Danisha Dorsey-Daniels is a volunteer at Ballou. She says the apple incident is unfortunate, but she understands why some parents may be taking a tougher stance.

"Sometimes kids have unknown allergies, sometimes they're not aware what they're allergic to, so there could be some skepticism on should we serve this to kids, because you don't want the parents to be worried about what's going on school or anything like that," she says.

All of the sick students are all expected to be okay.

The DC Department of Health Interim Director, Dr. Saul Levin released the following statement Monday on the sick students at Ballou High School.

"Today, a cluster of several students from Ballou High School reported being ill earlier this morning after consuming apples brought in by a teacher. As a result, three students were transported to area hospitals for nausea and other gastroenteritis symptoms. DOH epidemiologists are working with area hospitals and the public health laboratory to investigate the source of the illness.

DOH Food Safety team performed a full inspection of the school's kitchen, which did not yield any positive diagnostic results associated with the cases. At this time, apples have not been identified as the source of this illness. DOH will continue to work with area health providers to ensure the students complete recovery and wellness."

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