Duplin County deputies and school officials said they could hardly believe it: a boy allegedly bringing the ashes of his dead uncle to class, and encouraging his friends to sniff the remains.
On Friday, May 3, a teacher at Kenansville Elementary School confiscated a pill bottle that the boy brought to class, according to Dawn Craft, director of public relations for Duplin County Schools. A test revealed that the bottle contained the ashes of the child's uncle, which his parents later confirmed.
According to the school, several students said they were offered the ashes; one even admitted to smelling the remains. The rest, however, denied ever sniffing the ashes.
"It was somewhat alarming," said Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace. "The good news is that the faculty and the staff at the school handled the situation very well. "I'm also proud of the students for not ingesting what they thought at the time could have been a controlled substance."
Kenansville Elementary alerted the families of all the students involved, Craft said. The school also sent out a letter to all parents, advising them to "talk to their children about trusting their instincts and not accepting anything that may seem suspicious, and to also immediately report any unusual activities to an adult."
"It sounds like the school handled things appropriately," a parent told NewsChannel 12. "You never know what little kids are going to do. I have little kids, so you can't just assume your kids won't just do something off the wall. They can surprise you."
School officials do not know how the boy got his hands on his uncle's ashes.
The Duplin County Health Department was contacted about the incident, and explained that it was not a communicable disease issue.