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18 Students Rushed to Hospitals After Taking Prescription Pills at School

By  Erica Demarest and Casey Cora | October 10, 2013 1:19pm 

 Eighteen elementary and high school students were rushed to area hospitals Tuesday after they ingested prescription-strength pills at school, police said.
18 Students Hospitalized
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ARMOUR SQUARE — Eighteen elementary and high school students were rushed to area hospitals Tuesday after they took prescription-strength pills at school, police said.

The calls for help began coming into the Chicago Police and Fire departments at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Emergency crews went out on calls at Air Force Academy High School and McClellan Elementary School, which sit just blocks apart in the Armour Square and Bridgeport neighborhoods.

At least 18 students had taken prescription pills — possibly anti-anxiety medication — while at school, police sources said.

It is still unclear where the students got the drugs, but four of the 18 — all described by police as "male juveniles" — were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Of the 18 students treated, 15 attend Air Force Academy High School, 3630 S. Wells St., while three were students at McClellan, 3527 S. Wallace St.

Air Force Principal Capt. Yashika Tippett-Eggleston said all of the students who were hurt on Tuesday were back in school by Thursday.

Condition updates on the sick students at McClellan were not immediately available.

Of the four arrested, two were from each school.

State Police are testing samples to determine what the pills were, and Chicago police detectives are investigating.

As Air Force Academy High School’s uniform-clad students ­— called cadets at the college prep school — streamed out of the building Thursday, many declined to comment, saying they were “ordered not to talk about the incident.”

But one student said classmates affected by the drugs, all ninth-graders, were taken out of their classrooms and into the school’s gymnasium, where they were picked up by paramedics.

A CPS spokeswoman referred all questions about the incident to police.

"After conferring with my team, we will have to defer these questions to CPD, as they are handling this currently," spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said.

McClellan Elementary School Principal Joseph Shoffner did not immediately return calls seeking comment.