All candy, home-baked goods prohibited at Armstrong High School

This comes about a month after four students ate edibles believed to contain THC, and then went into medical distress.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 5:59 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Armstrong High School is not allowing any candy on its campus, and it is banning home baked goods, too. This comes about a month after four students ate edibles believed to contain THC, and then went into medical distress in the middle of the school day.

The new policy means no homemade cookies, brownies, cakes or Rice Krispy treats. Packaged chips and store-bought treats such as Little Debbie’s and Twinkies are okay, according to a post from Armstrong High School.

“They’ve gone about that the wrong way,” Richmond resident Nat Griffin said. “It’s too wide of a broad thing to just say stop bringing baked goods. I think that’s kind of absurd.”

It is Armstrong’s way of trying to keep kids safe, as a lot of the packaging of edibles resembles other snacks. Kelly Malone has a niece at Armstrong and says it is a great start to giving some thought to fixing the problem.

“I’m not sure how the idea can be implemented, but it is definitely good that someone is giving some thought to some solutions,” Malone said.

Implementing it is the problem others see, too, along with enforcing it. Some think the new policy is unfair to all of the kids who have been doing the right thing, and to those who rely on making a lot of items at home.

“What about kids that can’t afford the lunch from school? They have to bring their lunch, so then what, they can’t have lunch? Is the school gonna provide lunch free lunch for them because they can’t bring their lunch” Griffen said.

The policy comes as the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority says the popularity of edible hemp products skyrocketed recently.

“You can walk into convenience stores, gas stations, and these products are on shelves with potato chips, gum, soft drinks, and so that ease of accessibility is contributing to the problem, contributing to incidents like what we experienced at Armstrong High,” said Jeremy Preiss, acting head of the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority said.

The updated rule only applies to Armstrong as of now, but Preiss says edibles are a public health crisis concerning and impacting the whole country.

“Most of these products are not tested for contaminants for heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, microbials. So, they’re untested for these contaminants that makes them dangerous. That makes them kind of a wildcard unknown,” Preiss said.

Preiss says kids who are underage are able to get access to these items far too easily. He says ID checks are not always enforced, especially if people are buying them online.

He says the Virginia Cannabis Authority is working with the governor’s office and those involved with Virginia’s General Assembly to get stricter laws surrounding edibles in the coming legislative session.

Those laws would not go into effect until July at the earliest, so until then, the updated snack policy may be Armstrong’s solution.

“They need to find some other kind of way to maybe inspect their lunch or something like that,” Griffin said.

The policy could be revisited next semester. Armstrong’s principal is asking parents and caregivers to help out when it comes to enforcing this policy and oversee the items students take to school.