EPA: Exposure to mercury "minimized" at LaFayette High School
UPDATED, SUNDAY NOVEMBER 14, 1:10 PM
By David Carroll
LAFAYETTE, GA (WRCB)- Here is a statement from Walker County Schools concerning the mercury incident at Lafayette High School, and the ongoing EPA investigation:
"Walker County Schools, LaFayette High School and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are diligently addressing the mercury incident that recently occurred on campus. An ongoing investigation has revealed the need to assure parents and students that the safety and security of both students and staff is of highest priority and will be assured.
Relying on the information available, the Walker County Schools System operated under all protocol and federal guidelines in the clearing and securing of all affected areas of the school.
According to Matthew Huyser of the EPA, the Walker County School System has "handled the situation intelligently, seeking and following federal guidelines with prudent and systematic approach. The Walker County School System has taken a proactive, precautionary measures to minimize exposure."
The EPA has determined that all the right steps have been taken regarding this incident, but Walker County Schools will continue to monitor areas until the situation has been completely resolved.
For more information concerning mercury, contact the Walker County Health Department at 706-638-5577 or the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at 888-422-8737."
PREVIOUS STORY FROM FRIDAY NOVEMBER 12:
By Amy Morrow
LAFAYETTE, WALKER COUNTY (WRCB) - Lafayette Police are trying to determine if something that might have started as prank will turn criminal for students at Lafayette High School. Investigators say on Friday a handful of students intentionally spread mercury, a chemical element know as quicksilver, in a classroom.
The Environmental Protection Agency was called in for the clean up. A Channel 3 viewer tipped us off to this story and emailed video to the station.
We're told the school resource officer, Billy Mullis is investigating. We went to Lafayette High Friday evening. Around 6:30 p.m., several people were still inside the building. We asked for a comment. About 10 minutes later several people filed out in a group and refused to speak. In fact, they wouldn't even acknowledge that we were talking to them, and walked away.
The Assistant Director of Public Safety for the City of Lafayette did talk to us.
Assistant Director Bengie Clift says, "Probably not a big deal but something that required attention. Anytime you're dealing with people who can hurt or your introducing something to other people, it can cause a problem and get somebody hurt."
Eyewitness News talked to a spokesperson for the school system late Friday. Elaine Womack says it was a small amount of mercury. She says they're waiting to hear the results of the EPA's findings.