20 teachers fall ill after luncheon at elementary school in North Hills

NORTH HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- About 20 teachers called in sick Thursday at Vintage Magnet Elementary School in North Hills after falling ill due to suspected food poisoning.

Substitute teachers were brought in due the widespread illness, which followed a tiki-themed teacher-appreciation luncheon that was catered by a local Hawaiian restaurant Tuesday. A buffet line of meats, rice and macaroni salad was served at the event.

"I feel bad, I mean, the fact that this happened," said parent Leslie Kahlenberg. "There's so little recognition for teachers to begin with."

Los Angeles Unified School District officials said there were no reports of students being affected, adding that all potential food sources were being investigated as a result of the incident.

A Vintage Magnet staff member suspected that fruit and dessert, brought in parents of kindergarteners, could be to blame. Teachers were said to have eaten leftovers on Wednesday in the faculty break room.

North Hills resident Melissa Reyes said the matter was "a little bit concerning."

"But the school's doing a really good job, and making sure that everybody's taken care of, and they have enough people here."

Operations and instruction at the campus were not impacted, LAUSD officials said.
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