According to the Orange County Register, the flutes were likely given to children as part of the Flutes Across the World program, in which flutes painted and decorated by California students are gifted to underprivileged children in various parts of the world.
Parents of students enrolled in at least three Orange County school districts were sent emails warning them that their children may have been given flutes and recorders contaminated with “bodily fluids.” Parents were asked to take the flutes away from their children and place them in sealed paper bags.
“You have to read in between the lines — and most likely, it’s not sweat,” one concerned parent told NBC Los Angeles.
“It made me sick to my stomach,” said another.
The teacher, whose identity hasn’t been revealed, is not employed by any of the school districts, but is an independent contractor who provided music enrichment programs at multiple schools, the Orange County Register reported.
The official website and Facebook page of Flutes Around the World were both down on Saturday, but a cached version of the website said children who receive flutes “are given instruction and technique” by the organization’s “Flute Ambassadors, who are able to establish a relationship with local music teachers within a region.”
The program has distributed flutes to children in Haiti, Honduras, Nigeria, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia and the United States.
— With a file from Global News reporter Phil Heidenreich