UPDATED: Park City student hospitalized after, officials believe, inhaling THC

A ninth-grade student at Treasure Mountain Junior High was transported to the hospital Friday afternoon after, officials believe, using a vaping pen to inhale THC and collapsing.

An email from the Park City School District alerted parents to the incident. The email stated that a ninth-grade student who provided the THC was referred to the police. THC is a psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana.

Melinda Colton, spokesperson for the district, said the male student who officials believe was vaping “appeared to be ill and described feeling dizzy.” According to Phil Kirk, a captain in the Park City Police Department, the student was with other students in a classroom at the time, and they contacted faculty members to seek medical attention after he collapsed on the floor.

In the email, the district asked parents for their help in keeping schools safe and drug free. The email urged parents to contact school counselors if they suspect their children are using drugs.

There have been widespread concerns about drug use in Park City’s schools since two 13-year-old boys died in 2016 from overdosing on a synthetic opioid. Since the deaths, the district has implemented a number of programs designed to educate students and parents about the dangers of drugs.

“It is not appropriate for students to bring tobacco, alcohol, or drugs to the learning environment,” said Superintendent Jill Gildea in a statement. “Our students have a right to expect a safe and drug-free learning environment. Prevention education, disciplinary consequences, and appropriate interventions and supports are provided to students who are found to have brought e-cigarettes, tobacco, or any drug or look-alike substance to schools.”

Kirk said teen vaping has been a problem for a few years in the community, but the proliferation in schools seems to be increasing.

“We are seeing more incidents of it, more students who are found with vaping devices,” he said.

He recommends that parents sit down with their kids to talk about the dangers of vaping, because he said many students believe it is not harmful to their health.

Colton said Ben Belnap, associate superintendent of student wellness, and a therapist from Valley Behavioral Health were available on Monday to support students and staff members to talk about the incident and any other concerns they had.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article indicated the student was found “passed out.” That was based on the email the district sent to parents and correspondence from the district to The Park Record. According to Gildea, that information was later determined to be inaccurate. 


Wasatch County School District raises taxes

During the hearing, Cindy Cossairt of Heber City offered her observation that “the education system is turning into socialism” because “you’re asking neighbors to pay for neighbors’ children.”

See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Park City and Summit County make the Park Record's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.