School staff exposed to vape pen with fentanyl


Sequoyah High School Fentanyl Exposure

Three staff members administered Narcan following fentanyl exposure at Sequoyah High School Will Puckett WVLT breaks down what we know:

Posted by WVLT on Tuesday, November 30, 2021

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Two School Resource Officers and a school nurse were exposed to fentanyl at Sequoyah High School Tuesday, officials with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office told WVLT News. The three staff members exposed were treated and are stable.

“The two officers and the nurse was given Narcan and transported to the hospital. All are stable,” Chief Deputy of the MCSO Chris White said.

Officials originally told WVLT News that the fentanyl came from a 17-year-old student’s vape pen, but School Resource Officer Captain Rusty Vineyard later said that none of the drug had been found in the pen’s cartridge. 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.

Vineyard was not able to disclose the specific charges, as the student is a minor.

WVLT News 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,” said Windsor.

In addition to the training, school representatives closed the school Wednesday, Dec. 1 and Thursday, Dec. 2 for the school to be checked and cleared for re-entry.

The MCSO and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are investigating the incident, officials said.

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