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Staff members exposed to fentanyl at Tenn. high school

Two student resource officers and a school nurse were exposed to fentanyl at Sequoyah High...
Two student resource officers and a school nurse were exposed to fentanyl at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, Tennessee. One student was taken into custody and charged following the incident.
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 9:19 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:59 AM CST

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) - Two school resource officers and a school nurse at a Tennessee high school were exposed to fentanyl Tuesday, WVLT reported.

Authorities say the three staff members exposed were treated with Narcan. They were briefly taken to the hospital and are now at home resting, according to School Resource Officer Captain Rusty Vineyard.

Officials originally said the fentanyl came from a 17-year-old student’s vape pen, but Vineyard later said that none of the drug had been found in the pen’s cartridge. This could mean that the fentanyl was not liquid-based, he said. He was not able to disclose details of how the overdoses occurred.

However, he said the student who brought the vape pen was taken into custody and charged. The specific charges were not disclosed, as the student is a minor.

WVLT spoke with parents about the situation. One parent said they were unhappy with how school officials communicated during the incident.

“The school is not telling any of the parents what exactly is going on, only said that the kids are safe in the classroom. It’s just not safe for them to go into the hallways,” the parent said.

Another parent said that students were kept inside their classrooms as the situation was being cleaned up.

Parents were allowed to pick up their kids at any point in the day, according to Monroe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kristi Windsor. Officials are also planning random drug dog searches to help curb the drug problem at the school, which Vineyard said has been an issue for decades.

“We are already working with local law enforcement to move ahead with that plan, and parents and students should expect to see those drug dogs at our schools on a frequent basis in the coming weeks and months,” Windsor stated via email.

Windsor also said she plans to have staff trained on the signs and symptoms of drug use and how to respond to issues involving drugs.

“As always, we will continue to work diligently to ensure the safety and security of all of our students and employees on a daily basis, and we appreciate the cooperation of our parents and community members in educating our children on the dangers of drug use and experimentation,” Windsor said.

In addition to the training, school representatives closed the school Wednesday and Thursday for the building to be checked and cleared for re-entry.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident, officials said.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, just two milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose.

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