MEXICO CITY, Oct 8 – At least 57 students were poisoned by an unidentified substance at a rural high school in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, local authorities said.
Friday’s mass poisoning was the third in Chiapas schools reported in local media in the past two weeks, terrifying students and sparking outrage from parents.
Mexico’s Social Security Institute said Friday that 57 teenage students from the rural community of Bochil arrived at a local hospital with symptoms of poisoning. One student in a “critical” condition was taken to a hospital in the state capital, while the rest were stabilized, the institute said.
Authorities did not speculate on the cause, but local news reports said some parents believed the students had been exposed to contaminated water or food.
“We are outraged by these events,” Bochilu leaders said in a statement, adding that they were cooperating with the prosecutor’s investigation.
Videos circulating on social media showed a chaotic scene in which adults carrying teenagers in school uniforms rushed down a hospital corridor amid screams of anguish.
The state prosecutor’s office said on social media on Saturday that it had conducted 15 toxicology tests, all of which came back negative for illegal drugs, after reports in local media and social media that the students had tested positive for cocaine.
In a Facebook video on Saturday, dozens of parents gathered outside the high school’s basketball court, walking around a microphone and demanding answers from authorities as more than a dozen police officers, some with shields, looked on.
One man said in the video that his daughter, along with other students, had been poisoned and tested positive for cocaine at a private lab.
The prosecutor’s office said it would continue to test the students, but did not respond to questions about previous poisonings
Since September 23, local media reported on two previous cases of mass poisoning in the city of Tapachula, which affected dozens of students.