60 Students, Staff Members Exposed to Mercury at Hood Junior High School
Staff Report NewsWest 9
ODESSA - 60 students and staff at an Odessa Junior High School showed no signs or symptoms of illness after being exposed to mercury at Hood Junior High on Tuesday morning.
Ector County ISD officials tell NewsWest 9, it all started when a student from Hood Junior High brought an old plastic bottle with about one ounce of mercury in it to campus.
The student, as well as other students, poured the mercury out of the bottom and played with it in several areas including the cafeteria before school started and two classrooms.
An assistant principal at the school learned about the situation and staff members began the process of sorting out which students and staff were exposed to the mercury.
Officials later determined that 20 students handled the mercury in some way and another 40 or more were exposed to the mercury in a secondary manner.
As a precaution, officials treated the exposure as a hazardous material situation and the 60 students and staff were placed under quarantine and showered off at Hood before being taken by school bus to Medical Center Hospital and Odessa Regional Medical Center.
We're told that all of the students and staff members that were examined showed no signs or symptoms of illness.
School was later dismissed at 12:30 p.m. in order for officials to deal with the incident and limit any further exposure.
Ector County ISD has brought in a company called Allied International to clean up any mercury spilled in the school and to do an air quality check.
School officials say that Hood Junior High is scheduled to open on time Wednesday morning. If that changes, an announcement will be made by ECISD and NewsWest 9 will share that information with everyone.
An investigation is now underway to determine what discipline might be forthcoming for the student who brought the mercury to school.