An unknown chemical spill, in the Health Office, caused the school district to dismiss the Middle and High School at noon. Around 9:30 this morning the school was placed into a hold in place due to a medical emergency. A hold-in-place is where students can not move around the school and stay in whatever classroom they are in until it is lifted.
When the spill occurred, they also contacted the Glen Rock Police and Bergen County Department of Environmental Services to investigate the situation.
Their investigation found that a student had been exposed to a hazardous substance that they had brought to school from home. Haz-mat technicians made a preliminary identification of the substance as Thallium, a substance used historically as a rodenticide and readily available on the internet. The substance was contained and removed from the building by Hazmat. All emergency services were clear from the school at 2 p.m.
Chief Ackermann stated that “Five school staff members, a Police Officer, and 2 EMTs from the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps who provided aid to the student, without hesitation, were also exposed to the hazardous substance. All eight were also transported to area hospitals (Valley Hospital and Hackensack University Medical Center) to be medically cleared. As of this time, none are exhibiting any signs of an adverse reaction.”
Per the principal, Mrs. Giurlando, “At this time, these two organizations are working to determine the identity of the substance which may take an extended period. Under their guidance and recommendation, we will release the students at noon today”
All after-school sports and activities, including practices and games both home and away, are canceled. All Glen Rock Community School events for today are also canceled.
Detective Sgt. James Calaski, working in cooperation with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that the student had no intention of harming anyone at the school, nor any criminal intent.
Boyd A. Loving contributed to the story.