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#420314 - 10/29/11 08:47 AM 11 students faint in Teakettle School  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,750
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

An incident this morning at a Teakettle school has puzzled the entire community. Soon after classes began, several standard six students, who use the church as a classroom, fell ill; some of them fainted and had to be rushed to the Western Regional Hospital. All shared similar symptoms of dizziness, nausea and severe headaches. The students have since been released but doctors have been unable to determine what went wrong at the school. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Eleven students out of a class of thirty-five at the St. Edmund R.C. School ended up at the Western Regional Hospital this morning. They all mysteriously fell ill and started fainting, leaving everyone in Teakettle Village as well as the doctors baffled as to what may have caused the sudden wave of sickness. The standard six teacher explained how it all unfolded, starting just before nine o’clock.

Voice of: Standard 6 Teacher, St. Edmund R.C. School

“I came to school and then a little before nine, like quarter to nine a little child started to feel dizziness, nausea and headache—striking headache—so I took him to the office. I thought that it wasn’t anything, I thought it was just that he didn’t have breakfast. So I went to the office and I told the vice principal this child was not feeling well. So we decided that he had to go home cause he’s not feeling well so they took him home. By the time he went home and I got over with him, another child was feeling the same symptoms; headache, nausea and he was limping, couldn’t walk. So I brought him in and as I was attending to that one the other students were out picking up garbage from standard six cause it’s Friday and by the time I was attending to him and I went out, I had two other cases and it was the same. So I took them to the office and the vice principal said its best we take them to the hospital because we don’t know what’s wrong with them. In about fifteen, twenty minutes we had three more coming in and after that they were treating them and in a little while we had a total of eleven students in the hospital with the same symptoms; headache, dizziness, one of them was seeing doubles and couldn’t even speak properly.”

Twelve year old K-Cee Usher was one of the affected students and he says there was a strange smell in classroom this morning.

Voice of: K-Cee Usher, Std 6 Student, St. Edmund R.C. School

“Eena my class yoh had wah smell dat we neva smell before eena we class and after that so much ah we classmates just ketch way severe headache and some ah dehn just start feel bad afta dat.”

Delahnie Bain

“So all of them were from your class?”

Voice of: K-Cee Usher

“Yes, at least about eleven?”

Delahnie Bain

“So what did you do when you start to feel bad?”

Voice of: K-Cee Usher

“I just sit down and started to cry. I was drinking water and when I done drink the water I mi di feel bad so I throw weh di water.”

Delahnie Bain

“And the other kids, they were just in the class?”

Voice of: K-Cee Usher

“No, we were under a tree because eena di class, di scent.”

Ruby Usher had just left her son at school and headed to Belmopan when she got the news.

Voice of: Ruby Usher, Mother of K-Cee Usher

“I was going to the market, I got a phone call from my friend and she said Ms. Ruby, you know what dehn just ker K-Cee da hospital. I seh what? And she seh yes. I seh but weh cause it? and den she seh like eleven ah di children dehn fainted and dehn had to take them to the hospital. I seh, you know, like weh cause dis? And she seh she noh know neither. I got frightened and like cold seed all over me. I seh hmm cause dis is the first time this happen to my [knowledge] this dah di first time ih happen dah Teakettle school, the first time something like this happen. All my children went to that school and never we had this before.”

Ruby’s fears were compounded when she arrived at the hospital and K-Cee was the only student that was still hospitalized. His condition was complicated since he is asthmatic.

Ruby Usher

“I went straight into the emergency and I si my son—and he dah di only one weh still, like he neva come to yet. He mi deh pan drips and he had oxygen and all di rest ah children they were up already. I seh my God dah weh do my baby now. So he dah di last one weh lef di hospital.”

Voice of: K-Cee Usher

“Different people like some of my friends’ parents took different people and teachers.”

Delahnie Bain

“So can you tell us what happened when you were at the hospital?”

Voice of: K-Cee Usher

“When I mi deh dah hospital, dehn just give me wah drip and wait till ih done. Dehn ask me different questions if I had headache or anything.”

Delahnie Bain

“So how are you feeling now?”

Voice of: K-Cee Usher


Voice of: Standard 6 Teacher

“I have no idea, I don’t know what it was. Doctors just suspected that maybe they had some insecticide or something that they smelled inside the classroom but otherwise I have no idea what it was.”

While the students have all been released from the hospital, today’s episode remains an unsolved mystery. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The remaining students went home early since classes concluded at midday on the last Friday of each month.

Channel 5

#420321 - 10/29/11 08:56 AM Re: 11 students faint in Teakettle School [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,943
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
Cultural sensitivities aside, this kind if ignorance is part of why some groups of people do not seek appropriate health care in Belize.
I do hope that the school officials seek out the source of the illness - it may repeat if not addressed, and further a "cure" of the "bad spirit" often results in a witch hunt and some innocent person being targeted.

#420322 - 10/29/11 08:57 AM Re: 11 students faint in Teakettle School [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,750
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Strange happenings at a village school

A number of children were rushed to the emergency room of the Western Regional Hospital this morning. That is because eleven standard 6 students from St. Edmund Campeon R.C. School in Teakettle Village, suddenly fainted in their classroom, one after the other. When we got the news, the kids were just being treated at the hospital and no one was sure what was happening. We spoke to the chairman of Teakettle Village, Matthew Patnett, who helped to take some of the students to the hospital.

Matthew Patnett, Chairman, Teakettle Village
We are still trying to figure out what really took place. Apparently we have eleven to twelve kids right now at the Western Regional Hospital; one of them is on drips, the rest are just on observations and they received shots. Apparently, this morning they just began fainting in the classroom, so I went and checked the area to make sure that no chemical was around and so far I haven’t found anything.

Jesse Mendoza, Journalist
Were there any recent repairs to that building or that specific classroom?

Matthew Patnett
Not that I know of.

Jesse Mendoza, Journalist
Were any of them vomiting? What kind of symptoms do they have?

Matthew Patnett
Apparently one of them has a rash and swelling of the eyes. That’s as far as I know.

Patnett says the classroom was closed off after the incident and the kids were being held at the hospital for observation. Marlene Bevans, a parent of one of the kids, says she got the news that some standard six students were fainting. Her son, Jeremy, is in standard 6 so she quickly went over to the school to see what was happening.

Marlene Bevans, Mother of student
I went to the school this morning and I just saw the kids passing out one by one, so I went and looked for my son; my son’s name is Jeremy Bevans. When I went for him, his entire face and his lip was blue. I then asked the Chairman if he could give us a drop to the hospital and he said no problem and he brought in three of them. When we reached at the hospital, about six of them were already there with the same problem. So I picked up my son this morning to try and bring him and I couldn’t carry him because he got extra heavy. I got really frightened because I saw his face getting even bluer and from there, I saw more kids passing out one by one.

Marlene said that Jeremy left home in good health earlier the morning but when she got to the hospital, her son and other students were all complaining of similar symptoms.

Marlene Bevans
All of them are complaining of pain in their heads; their knees are weak, they have pain in their stomach and they can’t stand up. When they tried to stand up their knees get very weak and they say that they have really bad pains.

The children were given injections for pain and subsequently released. Investigations are ongoing to try and determine what happened. We did also speak with the teacher who was in the classroom at the time of the incident.

I would say a little before nine, because we call in at nine. It started about a quarter to nine, when one of the students starting to complain about headaches and nausea. I then took him to the office and from there the Vice Principal and I decided that he had to go home, because I didn’t think he had breakfast. So we sent him home and then I was about to go to my class, when another child came and told me that yet another student had the same symptoms. I brought the child into the office and then I was attending to him and the rest of the children were outside picking up garbage, because it is garbage day for Standard six; as I was going in the classroom, they came and said that three others were feeling the same way; striking headaches, dizziness and nausea and they wanted to vomit and weakness.

According to the doctors, they still cannot determine what caused the sudden wave of fainting spells.


#420728 - 11/02/11 08:36 AM Re: 11 students faint in Teakettle School [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,750
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

School faintings spark diagnosis discussion

Concerns as well as fear continue to linger in Teakettle Village after eleven students suddenly fell ill at St. Edmund R.C. School on Friday. But even more pressing, is the question of what was behind the mysterious incident, in which the children suffered striking headaches, nausea and dizziness. Several of them lost consciousness and they were all hospitalized for a short while at the Western Regional Hospital. The students were left traumatized and speculations are rife that the incident may have been triggered by chemicals in the air or an evil possession. So today News Five sought a medical perspective on the whole situation. Internist, Dr. Fernando Cuellar, spoke on possible causes for the wave of sickness in the standard six class.

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Internist

“More than likely when that number of individuals would suffer from similar symptoms, you’d have to get suspicious that they were exposed to some type of agent and more than likely some type of respiratory gas like entity; for example, things like carbon monoxide would be one of those and methane. These are practically odorless gasses that you would not—well, not so much the methane but the carbon monoxide—that you would not perceive, you would not pick up with the sense of smell and be exposed to and start experiencing these symptoms. So there are possibilities that they may have been exposed to something gas like. What caused it? Enclosed areas sometimes have decaying material in the ceilings or walls or even from the ground beneath. So all of these things are possible and with the correct resources and technology, you can find out exactly. I think unfortunately we don’t have all of that necessary resource in Belize to make a proper diagnosis. Apart from that, I don’t think it’s something they came in contact with by touch and the symptoms are not consistent with something they ate, for example. It’s more consistent with something that they were—from a medical point of view—something that they were exposed to through the respiratory system.”

Delahnie Bain

Fernando Cuellar

“A suggestion that was thrown out there is the possibility of it being mass hysteria.”

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Well, that definitely has to be considered. You can’t rule that out as yet. It would, however, require the services of a psychiatrist to interview the children them and see if there’s any common denominator that would force that person to make that suspicion stronger in terms of mass hysteria.”

Delahnie Bain

“Can you speak a bit more to what mass hysteria is?”

Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Mass hysteria is, indeed when you have a group of individuals, both adults and children, who because of a trigger, experience similar symptoms. More than likely anxiety type symptoms like headache, rapid heart beating and trembling and tremors and those kinds of things; not so much the nausea and the vomiting. These situations we always try to get something beneficial from them. So it’s just to remind people to be careful of their surroundings, enclosed areas; particularly wells, old buildings, old locked up buildings. There are things that exist there that we’re not aware of that can harm us. So just be careful.”

Channel 5

#420730 - 11/02/11 08:39 AM Re: 11 students faint in Teakettle School [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,750
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
About seventy parents of children in the Standard 6 class of the St. Edmund Campion School in Teakettle Village, Cayo District, gathered in front of the school this morning to protest the return of the children to the school’s church, which is being used as a classroom.

As many as eleven Standard 6 children of St. Edmund Campion in Teakettle Village, Cayo District, had to be rushed for medical attention on Friday, October 28, after they suddenly became unconscious after being out in the school yard picking up trash.

Only the children of that particular classroom, which is also the building that houses the church, experienced this incident, we were told, and the multiple incidents began occurring sometime after 8:00 that Friday morning.

We travelled out West to investigate this strange happening on Friday evening, and returned this morning, Monday, to find out that the children are terrified of returning to the building.

Julian Reyes, 11, was one of the first students to pass out on Friday. When we met him on Friday evening, he was recuperating at home. According to Julian, everything in the classroom just seemed foggy when he walked in. He then said that he felt a striking headache and then began “seeing doubles” before passing out.

He said that before becoming unconscious, his entire body felt stiff and he started to lose his balance.

Julian’s homeroom teacher then took Julian to the principal’s office, and it was advised that he be taken home.

“I thought maybe he had had no breakfast,” said the teacher.

But when Julian arrived home, the pain was not getting any better and his father, concerned, took him to the Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan.

While Julian was being transported to the hospital, another child began complaining of similar symptoms.

According to the teacher, the class was out in the school yard picking up garbage, and when they had finished and returned to the classroom, three more students also began complaining of similar symptoms, but the teacher told us that when the number of children had reached 11, she knew something was wrong.

When Julian arrived at the hospital, he had to be lifted in. There, he met his other ten classmates, who were also reportedly lifted in because they could not walk. The children were inconsolable, and crying in pain. Their parents arrived shortly.

The children were given an injection and kept under observation, but were released sometime after 12:00 p.m. We understand, however, that one of the children stayed in the hospital.

On Friday, parents verified to Amandala that the doctors could not say what was wrong with the children, but suggested that possibly, the children had probably inhaled some kind of pesticide, or other chemical in the air.

But the children we were able to speak with strongly disagreed. They said something evil was lurking in that classroom.

“I felt something jump on top of me and hold my breath like if they did not want me to live,” said a fourteen-year-old.

Pastor Remejio Santoya is one of the parents who were called by the school. According to Santoya, he was working at home when they told him that the children had passed out. Santoya told us that he visited the classroom and blessed the classroom to revoke the evil forces, but warned that these spirits are powerful enough to return.

He added that a place of worship should not be used for classes.

Meanwhile, the children’s teacher, like the doctor, told us that the incidents had nothing to do with any “evil spirits,” and that it was probably something in the air that affected the children, like a chemical spray or pesticides on the roadside. The matter was not explained further.

The school was closed for the rest of Friday evening and classes resumed today, Monday, but the children did not want to attend classes in the church building.

When we arrived in Teakettle this morning, however, we did not meet a confrontational situation. The principal, who at first did not want to talk to us, denied that there was a protest at all that morning.

According to her, the teachers had a meeting with area representative Hon. Ramon Witz, and the parents had only gathered in the school yard to voice their concerns about their children not wanting to go back into the church building for classes.

The meeting concluded with the decision to construct a new building for the Standard 6 students commencing as early as this coming Monday. The new building should be completed in the next two weeks.

As for the students, the unexplained phenomenon has left them very shaken, but the principal says that they have received counseling today, and will continue to receive it where needed.

One major concern, though, for the students as well as their parents, is that in the meantime, the classes will have to be held in the church building.

One parent suggested that the children could have classes under a tree in the meantime.

A parent told us that her child is very upset about the situation and refuses to return to the church for classes, because he is scared.

The parent also told us that if the children do not attend church, this will affect their eligibility for graduation, because attending mass is a requirement for graduating.

Back in August our newspaper reported on an exorcism that had been reportedly conducted at a high school here in the city on a second-form student who had become possessed after she and two female friends, also second form students, had played with an Ouija board.

(Amandala reporter Stacey Kelly contributed to this story.)


#420876 - 11/02/11 09:44 PM Re: 11 students faint in Teakettle School [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 5,943
Diane Campbell Offline
Diane Campbell  Offline
I pray for - the separation of church and state.

#421297 - 11/08/11 09:07 AM Re: 11 students faint in Teakettle School [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,750
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

Contruction commences to replace infested Teakettle classroom

A little over a week ago we reported on 11 children who experienced a sudden sickness while they were in their classroom. The St. Edmund Campeon R.C. School in Teakettle Village had quite a scare as the standard six children just suddenly started to faint one after the other. The situation later created a situation where parents of the standard 6 students refused to have their children go back into the classroom building which is housed in the church. A meeting was later called between concerned parents, principal, Ministry of Education representatives, and Area representative Ramon Witz . While the permanent building can’t be built right away, Area Representative Ramon Witz committed to finding funds to begin construction of a separate temporary Standard 6 classroom; which started over the weekend.

Hon. Ramon Witz, Area Representative
Last week Monday, we had a meeting with parents, school management and all other stakeholders for the St. Edmund Campeon R.C School. That meeting was a result of an incident that took place the prior Friday, where some children had fainted and parents were concerned and many parents did not want their children to go back into the same classroom, which is incidentally used as the church. We made a commitment that all of us will come together and we are going to build a temporary classroom until the new building is completed, which should commence sometime in December or January, I’ve been promised by SIFT. So today, parents are out here, the village council is out here and many other people are out here to give a helping hand so that we can get this building together. I’ve managed to get hold of some materials thanks to the many donors and thanks to the Reconstruction and Development Corporation and members of the Mennonite community. We are pulling together our resources and putting this building together.

The new permanent classroom will be constructed for the standard 6 students in the near future.


#421406 - 11/09/11 08:43 AM Re: 11 students faint in Teakettle School [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,750
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
The temporary standard six building in Teakettle has been completed. The building was quickly erected over the weekend at the St. Edmund Campeon Catholic School after parents refused to have their children return to the standard six classroom which was housed in the church. This is after eleven students just suddenly fainted one after the other and no medical or environmental reason has been determined. The parents met with school administration, the Ministry of the Education representatives and Area Representative Ramon Witz. Hon. Witz had committed to finding funding for the temporary classroom and now the standard six students have a new classroom. A permanent building is still in the plans.


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