20+ students sickened by candy at Perry High School

Police say five students were taken to the hospital.

PERRY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Authorities were called to Perry High School in Stark County this morning after multiple students became sick from eating candy that was brought into the school.

Police say 21 students started experiencing medical symptoms after eating the candy, including increased heart rates and dilated pupils.

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Six students were taken to area hospitals, according to police.

Police Chief Michael Pomesky said police haven't determined which student brought the candy, but said it was chewable and unsealed, carried in a plastic bag.

Pomesky spoke with the media in the afternoon:

Assistant Superintendent Nathan Stutz issued the following statement around noon:

"The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority. As many of you are aware, some of our students may have been affected by candy that was brought to school. We are working closely with authorities to fully investigate the situation. Upon the findings of the investigation, appropriate disciplinary and legal action will be taken - if deemed necessary. I would like to thank all safety services for their quick response and support. Again, the well-being of our students is our top priority, and we take all situations that may impact their safety very seriously. We will provide further information, as gathered."

Perry Township officials say they responded to the school around 9:25 a.m.

Police said the crime lab is currently testing the chewable candy, which may be laced with drugs, but they are still waiting for the results. Neighbor John Schweizer is a former student and lives right across the street. He said his brother goes to Edison Middle nearby. He said he was concerned for his brother because of Perry Local Schools’ tumultuous year.

“I was thinking, ‘what is going on now? What crazy thing is going on now?’ Everything that’s going on now, the suicides and the threats. It scares me because I don’t want that phone call or text, saying that my little brother has been a victim of something going on at one of the schools,” said Schweizer.

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Police Chief Mike Pomesky said parents need to talk more to their kids.

“They have to be communicating with their kids more. They have to hear about the dangers of social media, drug usage. Even in the high school years, something as simple as accepting candy from an unmarked bag,” said Chief Pomesky.