A Hawaii preschool is apologizing after a teaching assistant accidentally gave students Pine-Sol instead of apple juice. At Kilohana United Methodist Church Preschool on Tuesday morning, three girls, ages 4 and 5, took a few sips of the household cleaner before the assistant realized the mistake.
It’s still unclear what caused the mix-up, which occurred during a snack break while the teacher was in the restroom helping other students. According to a report from the Hawaii Department of Health, the Pine-Sol was clearly labeled in its original packaging and was on a cart with other cleaning supplies and no food items. “Only sips were taken before the lead teacher realized the liquid was not apple juice,” the school told parents in an email, explaining that the teacher was able to prevent all but three of the students from drinking the Pine-Sol.
Those students didn’t show any signs of sickness or trauma and were not taken to the hospital, paramedics reported. But parents, like Turina Lovelin, are concerned—and confused. “I think it’s extremely terrifying. It’s very, very scary, but it’s hard for me or any of the people that I’ve spoken to to understand how it happened in the first place,” she said.
Upon further inspection, health officials didn’t find any other code violations in the Honolulu preschool. However, school officials reassured parents at a meeting Thursday night that the assistant no longer works at the school and that current staff will undergo training to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.