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Tuesday
Jul262011

West Virginia School Shut Down after Meth Residue Found

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BOONE COUNTY, W.Va.) -- A West Virginia school where the principal and a teacher were arrested for allegedly smoking meth has been shut down because meth residue was found in the building's duct system.

Boone County officials shut down Boone County Career and Technical Center on July 22.

"There were positive tests that came back for the residue of methamphetamines," West Virginia Department of Education Spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro told ABC News. "What we had were micrograms, a very small amount, but nonetheless we're being very proactive...until we absolutely know that this is cleaned up and the health and safety of the students is number one."

The vocational school will reopen once the residue is cleaned up.

Cordeiro said that this is the first school in West Virginia to be shut down because of methamphetamine contamination.

Exposure to low levels of meth residue can cause headaches, dizziness and nausea, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources said.

Individuals might get sick from inhaling toxic substances at a site where meth ingredients were used or from inhaling second hand smoke from individuals using the drug, according to the state's Department of Health and Human Resources. It also warned that if someone's skin is exposed to a surface contaminated with meth, that can pose a health risk too.

Meth residue was found in the school's duct system and the main office, WCHS reported.

"As the smoke would raise it gets in the duct work and it's spread throughout the school system," West Virginia State Police Sgt. A.S. Perdue told ABC News affiliate WCHS.

It was recommended, not required, that the school shut down. School officials do not believe the school was used as a meth lab where the meth was both cooked and smoked.

The testing of the school was prompted after West Virginia State Police alerted the Department of Health and Human Resources in June that methamphetamines may have been smoked by a teacher and a principal at the school.

In May, Principal Keith Phipps and teacher Jack Turley were arrested as part of a months long investigation that alleges they smoked meth on the school's campus, WCHS reported. They were both suspended by district officials.

Turley confessed to state police that he bought Sudafed pills from a man, converted them to methamphetamine, and smoked it at the school, WCHS reported.

The vocational school teaches 450 students during the school year. This summer, about 20 students were attending classes, Cordeiro said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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