Van Nuys Middle School students released from hospital; investigation continues

Parents wait to collect their children outside Van Nuys Middle School
Parents wait to collect their children outside Van Nuys Middle School, where seven students were treated after reporting “medical complaints” on Dec. 1. All of the students taken to the hospital have been discharged.
(Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Seven Van Nuys Middle School students who were taken to hospitals Thursday after reporting “medical complaints” have been discharged and are listed as stable, but authorities have yet to determine what sparked the medical emergency.

Firefighters and police responded to the school early Thursday after 10 students, between 12 and 14 years old, were reported to be in “mild to moderate distress.” The students were evaluated for suspected overdoses.

Three of the kids were released at the scene, but seven others were taken to local hospitals to be treated.


The Los Angeles Fire Department said that the incident was “NOT fentanyl-related.”

The incident came just two months after 15-year-old Melanie Ramos was found unresponsive in a bathroom at Helen Bernstein High School in Hollywood. The teenager died of a suspected fentanyl overdose after she and another student bought what they believed to be Percocet pills from another 15-year-old student.

LAFD Capt. Erik Scott said Thursday it was possible the Van Nuys students ingested marijuana-infused products, or “edibles,” but the incident remains under investigation.

On Friday, a spokesperson with the Los Angeles Unified School District confirmed the incident is under investigation by the Los Angeles School Police Department, but officials were still looking into what substance was consumed by the students.

Van Nuys Middle School has remained safe and open for classes Friday, the spokesperson said in a statement.

“To provide support to our student community, we are providing counselors on our campus alongside important mental health services,” the statement read.

The Los Angeles School Police Department did not immediately respond Friday to questions about the incident.