GRANITE CITY, Ill. (KTVI) – Two Illinois parents say their children came home from school on Halloween with bags advertising cannabis edibles. They said their kids told them a district bus driver gave them the bags, which had candy inside.
Granite City police said it does not appear that the candy contained cannabis, but they are waiting on crime lab results for verification.
The bags, which read “Blow Pops” on the front, also feature a marijuana leaf and a warning. The back clearly states “edibles” and lists “cannabis oil” under its ingredients. It also states, “Keep away from children.”
The apparent mix-up has Samantha Beavin upset. Her 9-year-old son, Leo, was one of the three students on the bus to receive one of the edible bags.
“It is an edibles package,” Beavin said. “It literally says it across the packaging.”
Beavin said her son rides the bus daily. She said when he got home from school on Tuesday, he showed her the bag and asked if he could eat the treats inside.
“I looked at it, looked at the package and I said, ‘Who’d you get this from?’ He said, ‘My bus driver.’”
Even though Granite City police do not believe the bags actually contained cannabis products, Beavin said she is still concerned because the treats inside were not wrapped.
“That’s Halloween Candy 101: Don’t take or eat anything that is open or not in the original package,” she said.
The Granite City School District contracts its busing services to First Student Inc. The company told Nexstar’s KVTI that the driver and a monitor mistakenly purchased the bags to use as gift bags. They said both employees have been placed on administrative leave.
It’s not the first time parents have complained about Granite City bus drivers behaving inappropriately on the job. Back in March, video showed a bus driver crashing a bus with kids onboard into several parked cars in a residential area.
Jeff Zgonina said his granddaughter was on that bus. He thinks it’s time the company conducted stricter background checks on its drivers.
“They’ve got to do better with who they hire,” Zgonina said. “I mean, you can’t just hire anybody off the street.”
Corin Donelson has multiple children attending schools in the district. She said she goes out of her way to coordinate rides for all her kids. That way, they don’t have to take the bus.
To her, it’s a matter of safety.
“We really work hard to make sure that our kids don’t have to ride the bus because I don’t trust it, and don’t want to take any chances with my kids,” Donelson said.
KTVI reached out to First Student again to ask about their hiring practices for bus drivers. The station did not hear back in time for air.
The Granite City Police Department provided the following statement regarding Tuesday’s incident:
From what we can tell, from statements and preliminary evidence obtained thus far, none of the candy contained any hazardous substances. This, however, is inconclusive without analysis from the crime lab. These tests will be forthcoming, and therefore we cannot confirm or deny the presence of narcotics at this time.Colonel Nicholas P. Novacich, Chief of Police for Granite City Police Department
First Student Inc. also provided us with a statement regarding Tuesday’s incident:
A driver and monitor mistakenly purchased this packaging to use as gift bags. They placed wrapped candy inside the packaging to hand out to students. The initial report from law enforcement determined the candy was fine, but this needs to be confirmed through crime lab testing. As a precaution, the employees have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. A policy has been mandated to not hand out candy or food products moving forward.Brenna Rudisill, communications specialist