(02/02/2002)
A white powder scare occurred at Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center, shortly before students were to be dismissed for the day Friday afternoon. Dr. Robert Rentschler, principal of the facility, said maintenance man Randy Ball opened a letter with a State Department of Health return address, the letter contained a white powdery substance.

White powder scare at Calhoun-Gilmer Career Center

The principal said he understands the "building will be cleared" after the substance is identified. "Students can then return to school," he said.

Local officials stated they felt there was a reasonable explanation for the powder, but appropriate measures had to be taken. The FBI was notified.

Dr. Rentschler said all students were sent home after a short delay. "The students were released after consultation with officials." He said, "every precaution was taken regarding the handling of the substance, following protocol.

Students released from school after delay

Five members of the Career Center staff, those in close proximity to the letter opening, remained in the building until clearance was given by authorities.

"I advised the students about the problem and everything went smoothly," said Rentschler.

Calhoun school administrator Donnie Pitts said he was concerned parents did not get alarmed over the situation, and advised local media regarding bus delays.

The Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department and the State Police responded to the scene.

State Police are reportedly returning the substance to the State Health Department for examination.


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