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UPDATE: Scholastic Book Fairs issues statement after meth found in Nolan Elem library

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SIGNAL MOUNTAIN, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE:  Monday, the book fair reopened at Nolan Elementary School, just 3 days after methamphetamine was found on a bookcase.

Police are still trying to figure out how drugs got into the school Friday.

The Police Chief tells said the 20 grams of meth, nearly the size of a golf ball, was found inside a plastic bag on one of the book fair bookcases.

The shelves were delivered for a book fair the day before the drugs were found. So, it's not clear when the drugs entered the building.

Police Chief Mike Williams said a teacher found the bag. No students came in direct contact with the drugs, and the bag holding the meth was still closed.

"Well if they had gotten into it and ingested it, it could be extremely dangerous,” Chief Williams explained. “I don't know what quality or what strength, but anything dealing with meth, it's a powerful drug."

The president of Scholastic Book Fair, the company that put on the book fair, said in a statement to Channel 3:

"On Friday we learned from the Nolan Elementary School principal that a substance was found in a book bin in the school library. The safety and well-being of children is always our highest priority. We are doing a fact-finding exercise of our own, cooperating with school officials, and will do the same should we be contacted by local law enforcement.”

Chief Williams said investigators talked with parents who had kids in the library about how to clean their clothing and skin as a precaution.

The substance was not found anywhere else in the room.

"There's no indication that anything in the library was contaminated,” Chief Williams added. “Just that shelf where it was physically located."      

Police said parents should not worry if their child was in the library Friday. They are confident no children came in contact with the drug.

The school's principal said the library was cleaned Friday night, and the bookshelf where the drugs were found was taken out of the building.

The following messages were sent to parents following the incident:

“Good Afternoon Nolan Families - We wanted to share some information related to an event that has taken place at Nolan this afternoon.  During a related arts library class during our summer reading book fair, a few of our students found a small bag of a powdery substance in one of the book bins.  The students reported the substance to the teacher, but in doing so, some of those students were exposed to the substance.  Not knowing what the substance was, the Signal Mountain Police Department was immediately notified to test the substance and to begin their investigation.  Upon testing the substance, the substance is believed to be meth.  As part of precautionary procedures, the library was closed off and an investigation was started.  Paramedics were also called to the school to assess the children who were exposed and those parents have been contacted.  Moving forward, the investigation will continue as to where the substance came from and the building will be treated as needed.  We want everyone to know that all of our students are safe and that afternoon dismissal for SMMHS and Nolan will take place as normal.”

“Good Evening Nolan Families - We wanted to take a few moments to share some updated information about Friday’s event along with plans for this week.  Although the police investigation continues, the investigation in the library has been completed.  As part of our response to the event, the library and all book fair materials were searched by police and a drug dog and the affected case has been cleaned and removed.  The entire library was then cleaned as well on Friday night and I have personally conducted another search within the book fair materials to ensure the safety of our students and adults.  With everything being deemed safe and cleared for use, the book fair will be open as planned next week to provide normalcy for our students.  Our teachers will be joining their students during their book fair times throughout the week, but if for some reason you do not want your child to participate, please let your child’s teacher know.  In addition, we will also be talking with the 5th grade class most directly affected to provide some additional comfort and determine if any students may need some additional support.

Over the weekend, like many of you, I revisited previous conversations we have had as a family concerning what to do if they find or see something that is unfamiliar or that they feel unsafe or unsure about.  Fortunately, the majority of our students maybe didn’t even realize anything had happened, but if you have children who did, I encourage you to take some time this evening to remind your children of our shared expectations that they immediately notify an adult if they see something unfamiliar and to not ever touch anything they are unfamiliar with.  This is certainly an unsettling event, and one that none of us ever thought we would be dealing with, but it can also be a teachable moment as we work together to keep our children safe.  Thanks again for your support as we look forward to a great week of learning and a fun book fair experience for our students.”

If police find the person responsible for putting the drugs on the shelf, they could be charged with possession of an illegal substance and reckless endangerment for all the people near the drug.

The school principal said the library and all book fair materials were thoroughly checked following the discovery.


PREVIOUS STORY: Scholastic Book Fairs has issued a statement after meth was found in the Nolan Elementary School library Friday.

The meth was found on a bookshelf behind a row of books, which were delivered the day before for a book fair.

The company's president, Alan Boyko, released the following statement:

"On Friday we learned from the Nolan Elementary School principal that a substance was found in a book bin in the school library. The safety and well-being of children is always our highest priority. We are doing a fact-finding exercise of our own, cooperating with school officials, and will do the same should we be contacted by local law enforcement.”


PREVIOUS STORY: A small box containing a substance believed to be methamphetamine was found Friday at Nolan Elementary School on Signal Mountain.

A small number of students may be been exposed to the meth, which was confirmed in a field test.

A K-9 unit from Chattanooga police was called to the school and alerted to the substance, found in the school's library during a book fair.

Signal Mountain Police Chief Mike Williams tells Channel 3 that the substance, about the size of a golf ball and weighing about 20 grams, will be sent off for further testing.

Some of the children had the substance on their clothes, but none ingested the drug, Williams said. The box with the substance was not in the library yesterday but was today.

Currently, there are no suspects.

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