GALERAS, Colombia (LifeSiteNews) — Nearly 30 school kids in majority-Catholic Colombia were taken to the hospital last month for “anxiety.” Some parents reportedly feared the event was caused by the children playing with Ouija boards at school.
The head of the school, however, has sought to tamp down the rumors pending the release of medical reports.
The 28 children, students of the Institución Educativa de Galeras (INEGA) in Galeras, Sucre, Colombia, were hospitalized on February 24, accompanied by school staff and teachers.
INEGA head Hugo Torres said in an official statement posted to Facebook that the children had suffered from “possible cases of anxiety” and “were referred to the local municipal hospital according to protocols in place.”
English-language outlets have reported that the children had been hospitalized after fainting. However, Torres referred only to anxiety, not loss of consciousness, in his comments.
It’s unclear what the current status of the children is. The school hasn’t published a follow-up statement after its initial February 24 Facebook messages.
In a video message in which he read the official statement, Torres said that the students’ parents had been apprised of the matter at the time.
News reports also indicated the school was holding off on releasing information regarding the children’s condition until medical reports are completed.
According to reports, however, some parents had expressed concern that the children’s condition had been brought about by playing with Ouija boards, an occultic “game” designed to tap into the spiritual world and enable communication with the spirits of deceased persons.
As Catholic Answers puts it, “[…] the Ouija board really does work, and the only ‘spirits’ that will be contacted through it are evil ones.”
A mother who works in the hospital where the 28 children were taken said she frequently sees kids brought into the hospital in a similar condition.
She urged other parents to look into why this has been happening.
“Parents, you have to move, investigate what’s happening at school, because our children cannot continue in this situation,” she said, arguing that the symptoms couldn’t have been caused by malnourishment.
“Our children always have a good breakfast and it cannot be said that what’s happening is due to lack of food,” she said.
However, Torres argued that speculative comments about the causes of the children’s condition have “led to confusion,” and urged community members to hold off on coming to any conclusions until the medical reports are out.
“Given the reported cases, a series of comments were unleashed on the community that, rather than helping to resolve the situation, led to confusion and an adverse environment for our work,” he said. “The school is waiting for the medical diagnoses to provide further reliable information.”
“The educational institute also respectfully asks citizens to refrain from making early judgments and diagnoses of their own,” Torres said.
While it’s unclear exactly what triggered the anxiety among the children in Galeras, a similar incident involving school children late last year in Colombia had similarly been linked to Ouija board use, multiple outlets pointed out.
In November, teachers at the Agricultural Technical Institute in Hato, Colombia discovered that 11 teens, ranging from 13 to 17 years old, had lost consciousness in a school hallway, Times Now reported at the time.
According to the report, the “students suffered from violent vomiting, abdominal pain and muscle spasms” and five of them “were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.”
The teens had reportedly been playing with a Ouija board before fainting, something the city’s mayor took seriously.
“It is not ruled out that it was the Ouija board, that is part of the investigation,” Hato Mayor Jose Pablo Toloza Rondón said.
Interviewed after their hospitalization, the teens admitted they all drank from the same glass. Medical reports stated the children’s condition had been brought on by food poisoning.