Quantcast

Hokes Bluff parent shares story of son's symptoms - abc27 WHTM

Hokes Bluff parent shares story of son's symptoms

Posted: Updated:
Etowah County Sheriff's deputies and school officials stand outside Hokes Bluff Middle School after its closure Thursday afternoon. (abc3340.com) Etowah County Sheriff's deputies and school officials stand outside Hokes Bluff Middle School after its closure Thursday afternoon. (abc3340.com)
James Swink provided this photo of his sixth-grade son's rashes. James Swink provided this photo of his sixth-grade son's rashes.
HOKES BLUFF, Ala. -

James Swink's son remains in the hospital, a day after he and other students became sick at Hokes Bluff Middle School.  Swink said he is scared to death because doctors don't know the cause.

William Swink is in sixth grade at the school.  He was not in the physical education class where several eighth grade students began to have difficulty breathing Thursday morning.

Paramedics initially took nine students for medical treatment.  School administrators evacuated more than 300 middle school students to the high school.  About four more students then began to suffer similar symptoms.  So did a teacher, who was not in the P. E. class.

Over the course of the afternoon and evening, 10 more students went to the emergency room for treatment.  A hospital spokesperson said Thursday evening that doctors admitted five or six for overnight observation, including William Swink.

"He started feeling real sluggish yesterday afternoon, probably around 2 o'clock," James Swink said.

"We took him straight to the emergency room and he just went downhill from there.  He got to where he was real lethargic.  Felt real disoriented and real exhausted.  He couldn't stand up.  He just felt real bad."

Unlike the majority of the students who went to the hospital Thursday morning, Swink said his son did not suffer from respiratory problems.  He developed a rash across his torso, back, and face.  Swink said it was unlike anything he'd seen before, as the rash would appear and then disappear a few minutes later.

"It'd start out in small areas and then eventually in his face.  His face is still real rosy this morning.  He's got real rosy cheeks.  It comes and goes," Swink said.

He said his son didn't complain about pain, but felt like he was unable to move.  However, William had some involuntary movements that scared his parents.

"He was starting to twitch and his hands would get contorted in ways that you can't physically do that yourself.  I don't know if it was a nerve situation or what," James Swink said.

"It's scary.  I talked to a lot of parents and we all felt the same.  We just didn't know what to do," he said.

"Your kids are laying there and you can't help them.  And they don't know what's wrong.  The doctors can't tell you.  You just don't know what's going to happen next."

Swink said his son is the type of kid who starts talking as soon as he wakes up in the morning and doesn't stop until bedtime.  But Thursday, "he didn't say ten words to me in seven hours."

School officials are still trying to figure out what caused the children to get sick.  Police and sheriff's deputies found nothing suspicious.

The Hazmat team from the Gadsden Fire Department's Hazmat team could not find any airborne toxins.  An Alagasco crew tested for carbon monoxide and searched for gas leaks, but their inspection came up negative as well.

Etowah County EMA is at the school Friday collecting air samples for testing, and the Alabama Department of Public Health is also involved in the investigation.

An EMA representative said it will be up to state officials to make a decision about contacting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swink said school administrators are doing the best they can.  He hopes they find answers soon.

"It's important what happens with our children.  A situation like this, even though nobody died so far, it wasn't a gun shoot out or anything like this.  It's still important.  It still means a lot to us that other people care," Swink said.

Etowah County Schools superintendent Alan Cosby will be providing an update on the investigation this afternoon.

ABC 33/40 will have the latest information on air at 4 p.m., as well as on abc3340.com

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Labor Day Moon Pie eating contest

    Labor Day Moon Pie eating contest

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:22:19 GMT
    Dozens of folks got their ''fill'' of a popular Alabama treat this Labor Day.Tannehill State Park hosted the largest Moon Pie eating contest. All total there were 65 people who signed up. The winner receives a cash prize of $100. But this is about more than money. Park administrator, Stacey Green says, "I thought at times it was about the cash prizes, because the adults will win $100. But we've had so many repeat competitors, that I really think they're more in it for bragging rights. I re...More >>
    Dozens of folks got their ''fill'' of a popular Alabama treat this Labor Day.Tannehill State Park hosted the largest Moon Pie eating contest. All total there were 65 people who signed up. The winner receives a cash prize of $100. But this is about more than money. Park administrator, Stacey Green says, "I thought at times it was about the cash prizes, because the adults will win $100. But we've had so many repeat competitors, that I really think they're more in it for bragging rights. I re...More >>
  • Job growth under microscope this Labor Day

    Job growth under microscope this Labor Day

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:50 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:50:56 GMT
    Keeping a roof overhead and putting food on the table. That's still difficult for many Alabamians on this 130th Labor Day. A just released report by Arise Citizens Policy Project warns Alabamians will continue to feel the effects of the great recession for years to come. Arise is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition that believes low-income people are suffering because of state policy decisions. Bottom line is that Alabama's unemployment rate stands at seven percent. Yet, the stat...More >>
    Keeping a roof overhead and putting food on the table. That's still difficult for many Alabamians on this 130th Labor Day. A just released report by Arise Citizens Policy Project warns Alabamians will continue to feel the effects of the great recession for years to come. Arise is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition that believes low-income people are suffering because of state policy decisions. Bottom line is that Alabama's unemployment rate stands at seven percent. Yet, the stat...More >>
  • 1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    1 cent sales tax increase for Hoover City Schools?

    Sunday, August 31 2014 9:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 01:58:15 GMT
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
    In recent months, possible re-zoning and a proposed cost-sharing model for school buses have been controversial issues tied to funding for Hoover City Schools. But longtime Hoover resident and retiredMore >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
  • Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Gadsden police recover more than 300 stolen items; felony charges against suspected fence

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 03:22:34 GMT
    Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)Joe Walker Pearl (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
    Police in Gadsden are trying to return hundreds of stolen items to their rightful owners. Captain Paul Cody said officers bust a large fencing operation this week. Joe Pearl, 75, is the suspect in the case. It took a long time to sort through and document a very wide range of stolen property. "We've collected a lot of stuff," Cody said. "Toilet paper. We have non-firearms related weapons, we have karaoke machines, musical instruments, car stereos, underwear."More >>
  • Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Gadsden police arrest suspect in deadly stabbing case

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:37 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:37:31 GMT
    William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)William D'Angelo McKinney (Photo: Etowah County Sheriff's Office)
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
    Investigators in Gadsden said a man strangled his ex-girlfriend Tuesday evening before stabbing another man to death. Officers arrested 30-year-old William D'Angelo McKinney Wednesday night. He faces charges for murder and domestic violence with strangulation. Police said McKinney went to his ex-girlfriend's home in the Mill Village area and let himself in. Investigators said she asked him to leave, but he shoved her and then put her in a headlock until she blacked out.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
Powered by WorldNow