STANFORD - Two Lincoln County Middle School students were taken to the hospital Wednesday after consuming energy drinks during a field trip to Eastern Kentucky University.
Principal Debbie Sims said during a 300-student excursion to the university in Richmond for a live dance performance, some students began purchasing energy drinks from a store in the main EKU food court.
Sims said one student asked a teacher if he could purchase an energy drink and was given permission. After that, students began making a “big deal” about energy drinks and purchasing them in larger numbers.
At that point, a teacher was posted in front of the store and students were no longer allowed in, Sims said.
On the way home from EKU, Sims said teachers noticed some of the students weren’t feeling well. When the buses arrived back at school, multiple students were sent to the school nurse with headaches and other symptoms.
The nurse called poison control and sent four students home with their parents because of their symptoms, Sims said.
Two of the students who were sent home were later taken to the hospital by their parents. Sims said the energy drinks were “definitely” to blame for the symptoms suffered by the four students sent home.
“It made their heart rate go up and that’s what the nurse was concerned with,” she said. “She called poison control. I felt like our nurse handled the situation very well.”
Sims said all four students are now feeling better. The incident will “absolutely” cause some policy changes for the middle school, she added.
Currently, the middle school does not have a policy regarding energy drinks.
“The teacher that did say yes didn’t violate any policies,” Sims said.
Now, Sims expects a field-trip policy to be put in place banning the purchase of energy drinks.
“Middle-school kids are energized enough; they don’t need energy drinks,” she said. “We will not allow students to purchase energy drinks. We may even consider that from here on out on field trips, the kids have to eat sack lunches.”
Recent national media stories have reported a specific brand of energy drinks - Five Hour Energy - could have contributed to more than a dozen deaths.
Sims said the energy drinks bought by Lincoln students at EKU were other brands, like Monster and Red Bull. No students bought any Five Hour Energy drinks, she said.
Sims said it had been at least three years since the last time the middle school had taken eighth-graders to EKU. The last time, the store selling energy drinks was not present in the food court area and teachers were unaware of the change, she said.
“We will definitely be more aware of energy drinks when we take our kids out again,” she said. “They will not be allowed to purchase them.”