12 children, 2 staff members transported after becoming sick at Fraser charter school

Students seen vomiting, complaining of minor sickness

Officials said 12 children and two staff members were transported Thursday after becoming ill at a high school in Fraser.

Fraser officials said the Arts Academy in the Woods was evacuated after students in a classroom on the second floor started feeling sick. The school is on Caroline Street, near Masonic Boulevard and Utica Road, and has about 350 students.

During lunch, there was a report of students coughing in the lunch room, Principal Michael Mitchell said. He said medical officials were called to the scene, and all the students were evacuated.

"When I saw kids in the building, nobody experienced anything other than coughing," Mitchell said. He said he is not aware of any students being unconscious, but students were experiencing symptoms "similar to an asthma attack."

The students and teachers who were transported came from a classroom on the second floor. Officials said they were inside the room for 10 to 20 minutes before the majority of them started to feel dizzy and nauseous.

"We had a lot of different descriptions, but a lot of trouble breathing, we had some vomiting," said Fraser police Lt. Mike Pettyes.

Firefighters and the Macomb County hazmat team were also called to the scene. Hazmat officials said there was not a gas leak at the school.

Mitchell said he has no idea what caused the students to become sick.

"There was no smell, no taste, no visual sign of anything," Mitchell said.

Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols said he received a notice that students were feeling ill, coughing and experiencing breathing issues at the school.

"I've been told at this point that the reason is unidentified," Nichols said. "There's 12 children and two teachers who have been transported to local emergency rooms for treatment."

NIchols said he hasn't heard that any of the students were seriously sick, or that anyone had lost consciousness.

"There were illnesses," Nichols said. "I have heard of the vomiting that you mentioned. Obviously, the reason for the transport is because you want to know what this is. What caused these children to get sick and need to be transported and these teachers?"

Another student who was in the school said some of his friends were feeling nausea, congestion in the chest and light headedness when the school was evacuated.

"There was just something going on in the classroom right next door, and they just decided to evacuate us downstairs," student Alex McRobb said. "Then we started to feel the side effects of something, so police were up there, they called us all downstairs. Then we evacuated outside, and everything else took place from there."

McRobb said he felt mild light headedness for about five minutes but then he felt fine. He said after students were taken downstairs and evacuated, ambulances showed up and students were called over to be checked out.

The sickness is not considered serious, and everyone is expected to be OK, officials said.

"All these children, all these teachers, everyone in the building is fine," Nichols said.

"I've already notified our community here via our school messaging service, sent phone calls and text messages as I typically would for any schoolwide information," Mitchell said.

Students' parents and guardians received a text messages that read, "The academy will be evacuated due to a hazardous material concern. Please pick up your student as soon as possible."

Parents who are trying to pick up students from the school have been given a point of contact at the scene to find their children.

Officials said the school will remain closed on Friday to clear out the air ducts. The classroom where the incident might have started will also be cleaned out.

Watch the video below for more information from Jermont Terry.