VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) – The mother of an Edgerton Elementary School student who shared marijuana edibles at school last week was arraigned Wednesday on a child abuse charge.
Melinda Gatica appeared in a Genesee County courtroom, where she was formally charged with one count of second-degree child abuse.
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Investigators say her kindergartener got a hold of some marijuana edibles at home and brought them to school. The child shared them with other students, causing more than 15 to become ill at school on Friday.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said the students began suffering from dizziness, nausea and lightheadedness around 1 p.m. Friday. The school was evacuated and seven students went to Hurley Medical Center for treatment.
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Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Gatica purchased a jar of THC oil in August 2021. She used it to make marijuana edibles from gummy bears and Lifesavers, which she stored in her refrigerator.
Gatica’s attorney she was taking marijuana edibles as treatment for a rotator cuff injury. Police say the 6-year-old got the edibles from the refrigerator, believing it was candy.
Gatica, whose bond was set at $25,000, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. If released on bond, she must avoid non-prescription drugs and alcohol — and submit to random drug testing.
Michigan Child Protective Services has joined the investigation and authorities say Gatica is cooperating.