(BLOOMFIELD) – Eastern Greene School Corporation officials say the accidental release of “pepper spray” may have been the source that caused the evacuation of Eastern Greene Middle School.
Officials say two students and three staff members in the middle school library complained of upper respiratory problems. They were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Officials evacuated Eastern Greene County Middle School at 10503 East State Road 54 on Thursday and closed the school on Friday while officials tested the air quality in the building.
According to a news release from the Center-Jackson Fire Territory, several agencies responded to the school just before 3 p.m. on Thursday for a possible chemical leak/spill.
The fire department said first responders and school personnel took quick action to prevent a spread to other parts of the school, confining the incident to a small area.
Responding to the scene were Center-Jackson Fire Territory, Eastern Greene and Van Buren fire departments and the Northern Monroe County Haz-Mat unit along with Greene County Emergency Management, Greene County Health Department, the State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Greene County EMS, and AMR ambulance service.
Although air quality tests failed to identify the source, the use of a laminator in an improperly ventilated room was suspected.
In a message to parents and the community sent out Monday, school officials said their investigation revealed that one possible source of the odor may have been pepper spray.
Dr. Carrie Milner, Interim Superintendent of Eastern Greene Schools, says a notice will be sent to school staff requiring anyone bringing pepper spray into school buildings to make sure it its properly secured and inaccessible to students.