State officials are investigating several flutes that were distributed to some students in at least three Orange County school districts as part of a music program. Authorities say the instruments may have contained bodily fluids.
In emails sent to parents of students Friday afternoon, Sept. 29, district officials notified them there was an investigation regarding flutes given to students — as young as elementary-school age — by an individual who is also being investigated.
The flutes were made of PVC plastic piping and a single wine cork and had an exterior that could be decorated, district officials said. The individual, who was not identified, is an independent contractor. The individual wasn’t an employee of the affected Orange County districts and worked at multiple schools districts in Southern California.
“We were informed that an independent contractor who provided a music enrichment program to the fifth grade classes at Courreges Elementary School, in June 2017, gave the students flutes/recorders that were potentially contaminated with bodily fluids,” said Mark Johnson, superintendent of the Fountain Valley School District, in an email.
Johnson said in the email that the flutes possibly went to children who participated in the Flutes Across the World Program. He continued that Courreges Elementary School was the only site in the district that may have been affected.
The California Department of Justice is investigating the suspect, as is the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, though it was immediately unclear why.
Similar messages went to families in the Capistrano Unified School District and Newport Mesa Unified School District.