Parents say they got a call Tuesday from administrators of the RALLY summer school program in Juneau after their children were given floor sealant instead of milk to drink at breakfast.
Juneau School District officials say 12 children and two adults drank the sealant.
The Rally program serves kids ages 5-12. The incident happened at Sít’ Eetí Shaanáx – Glacier Valley School.
Barry Nydam’s 7-year-old daughter drank some of the sealant. He said he was shocked and infuriated.
“I don’t see my daughter going there anymore,” he said. “You’d have to have the people running it removed and new people running it.”
His wife, Rhyan Nydam, says she got the call from a program administrator around noon — hours after the incident. And initially parents heard it was paint thinner in the milk, not sealant.
“She called and told me that there were traces of paint thinner in the drinks,” she said. “And I’m just like, ‘what does that even mean?’”
The sealant was a product called Hillyard Seal 341. Its safety data sheet says it’s “expected to be a low ingestion hazard.”
Nydam was told that the administration took the cups away from the children and called a poison control center, then waited and monitored the children.
Nydam says she was told that no one needed to be hospitalized.
“I just can’t believe it took so long even just to tell me, you know? If I wanted to run my kid to the hospital, I wouldn’t have even known,” she said.
Nydam says when she asked for more information, administrators told her the issue was under investigation. She says her daughter is fine so far, other than an upset stomach.
The RALLY program did not respond to requests for comment from KTOO, but at a previously scheduled Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Bridget Weiss confirmed the incident was under investigation and said the Juneau Police Department is involved.
“That is transpiring literally as we speak, so that we can understand exactly what happened, how it happened. We obviously need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” she said.
Weiss said the fluid was mistaken for milk.
“Which sounds hard to believe, but if you have yourself used anything similar, it is surprising — it is white, milky fluid,” she said.
She called the incident “concerning.”