A file photo depicts a response by St. Mary's sheriff's deputies to Spring Ridge Middle School, south of Lexington Park.

A file photo depicts a response by St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputies to Spring Ridge Middle School, south of Lexington Park.

A Great Mills man has been charged with reckless endangerment in court papers alleging he left cannabis-ingredient candies in a place easily accessible to his daughter, who took them to school and distributed them to classmates.

The girl and four other students at Spring Ridge Middle School experienced “a reaction” on Jan. 2 from consuming the marijuana candy, which triggered a police drug overdose investigation, court papers state, and the students all were taken to a hospital to receive medical treatment.

Owusu Sondai Kanipe, 46, admitted during police questioning that “the edible gummy candies were given to him by an associate who came to his house for a party,” according to a charges application filed by St. Mary’s sheriff’s narcotics detectives. “Kanipe admitted to placing the plastic bag containing the edible gummy candies on top of a dorm refrigerator in his bedroom, after knowing his daughter has been entering his bedroom and taking things without his permission.”

Kanipe declined to discuss the matter when reached by telephone last Friday.

All five students reported feeling ill after eating something that looked like candy, school and law enforcement officials reported after the incident, which occurred when St. Mary’s public school students had just returned to school that day from winter break. Spring Ridge Principal Wendy Zimmerman said in a callout to parents that emergency services were “called as a precautionary measure” after the students were examined by the school nurse.

School staff were alerted to a child not feeling well after ingesting food brought from home, according to a sheriff’s office release, stating that “it was later determined the child had shared the food with four friends during the morning, and several [of those] children were also not feeling well.” School officials notified a sheriff’s deputy assigned as a resource officer at the middle school in Lexington Park, and rescue squad volunteers were called in to also examine the children, before they were taken to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown for further treatment and evaluation. All of the children eventually were released to their custodians.

Last school year, there were 45 incidents of students being suspended or expelled for drug-related offenses in St. Mary’s public schools.

Charging papers filed last week against the adult suspect in this month’s incident included no indications that anyone else in the household knew of the ingredients in the candies.

Staff writer Jacqui Atkielski contributed to this report.

Twitter: @JohnEntNews

Twitter: @JohnEntNews