I want to bring to your attention something that happened yesterday during our indoor lunch recess. The children could not go out because of the wind chill. If you are receiving this email, your son or daughter was involved in this situation. I was having my lunch when this happened and the children were being supervised by two very competent teaching assistants.
From what I understand about what happened, after a day long investigation, a group of six students were experimenting by eating hand sanitizer. The idea I believe originated with one of my girls, when she suggested the other people in the group eat the hand sanitizer. I have spoken to all the people involved and they all tried the sanitizer and confirmed no one was forced to eat it. They all just made a really bad choice. The ladies watching the children realized something was not quit right when the children kept requesting to go to the bathroom in pairs or small groups. They definitely were hiding the hand sanitizer from the teachers and after they asked the two different teachers to go to the bathroom, or go get a drink, the teachers caught on to the fact that something wasn't right, especially since they all looked guilty of something, and did not allow them to go out any more. We had used hand sanitizer to clean our hands before lunch instead of soap and water because we were running late getting to lunch. I have since put the hand sanitizer away in my cabinet. You have my promise I will not leave it on the back counter any more.
I sent the group to the principal's office, but unfortunately he was in meetings with classroom teachers all day and wasn't able to talk with the group. I am sure he will be talking with them tomorrow. Some of the children were almost bragging they were going to see the principal. I need your help to stress the seriousness of the situation. I spoke with the entire class about the seriousness of eating the hand sanitizer. I also stressed making good choices for ourselves and not doing something because someone suggested it or told you to do it. I told the children they needed to think before they did something to make sure it was safe, no one would be hurt and no one would be in trouble. They all knew it was wrong, because they were being secretive when they were doing it. I appreciate you talking with your child and helping drive home the point they need to make decisions for themselves. All the children involved were blaming someone else and saying they did it because someone had told them to do it. No one seemed to realize they could have said no and walked away. I asked them several times if anyone made them do it and everyone said no, that they were just all trying it. I think this can be a great opportunity to help your son or daughter learn how important it is to learn to say no to friends. I know you all can think of a situation that might happen in a few years where your son or daughter will be tempted by friends to make a wrong decision. I think it would also be helpful if you could tell your child he/she has the power to protect others by letting a teacher or adult know when something like this happens in the future. They were more afraid of getting in trouble than of getting very sick from what they were doing. Thank you so much for your help with this and I appreciate your support.