PERRY TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) - Police in Perry Township said a rumor about candy being laced with drugs caused a placebo effect and 20 students said they felt ill.
The originator of the rumor was arrested for misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing official business, according to the Stark County Juvenile Prosecutor's Office.
On Wednesday morning, 20 students were reportedly sick after eating candy brought to the school by a student. Five of the 20 students were taken to local hospitals. The victims are a mix of ninth-12th graders.
The school district said Thursday, "preliminary indications do not suggest that the candy was tampered with."
Perry Township Police said the chewable Sour Patch Kids candy was in a clear bag and not in the original packaging.
During an investigation, authorities learned a male student brought in the candy to share with friends. "He did not have any malicious intent," Perry Township Police said.
Officers said a female student who received a bag of candy from the male student started a rumor that the candies were laced with drugs.
"This took an act of kindness and twisted it very quickly," police said. "Understandably, this set off considerable panic and anxiety with the students who had consumed the candies."
The candy was taken to the Stark County Crime Lab for analysis where preliminary results show it was not tampered with.