The 22 students in a milk dare deliberately created and drank the nasty concoctions that made them sick and sent 18 of them to the hospital on Thursday. The San Diego Unified School District confirmed on Friday that the sudden outbreak of nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain was caused by a milk dare allegedly led by a group of fourth graders at Audubon Elementary School in San Diego.
According to NBC San Diego, school district spokesman Jack Brandais said that the students dared one another to put increasingly questionable items in their milk — including “hot sauce, salt, pepper, carrots and other vegetables being served at lunch.”
It wasn’t entirely clear why any of those items, even mixed with milk, would cause the reported symptoms. When the children first started vomiting, officials feared that they could be suffering from illnesses like salmonella or norovirus.
Before the milk dare finding, San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Robert Garcia had wondered aloud if the students had drunk a spoiled beverage.
After students began reporting to the school nurse on Thursday with their symptoms, Audubon Elementary feared a health crisis and called in paramedics, who ultimately decided that 18 of the children needed treatment at a local hospital. The 22 students ranging in age from kindergarten through 7th grade have now been released to their parents.
According to a UT San Diego report, it’s possible that not all of the children claiming to be sick actually were.
They quote Brandais as saying: “When the first kids got sick, teachers asked if anybody else felt sick, and the hands started going up…Some of them were apparently having… sympathy pains.”
In other words, some of the children who didn’t drink the milk could have developed a case of hysteria because of the power of suggestion. It’s also possible that some of them just got caught up in the excitement and said they were sick because kids will be kids.
At the time of writing, the school district hadn’t decided on whether or not they would punish the 22 sick students or anyone else involved in the milk dare.