Teacher sickened in 'prank' returns to S. Carroll High SOUTHEAST--Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

June 04, 1993|By Bill Talbott and Anne Haddad | Bill Talbott and Anne Haddad,Staff Writers

A carpentry instructor at South Carroll High School, who last week drank coffee that a student or students allegedly had laced with bleach, was back in the classroom this week.

State police and county school officials said they were investigating the incident, but they declined to confirm the identity of the teacher, name any students implicated in the incident, provide details or even say what day it happened.

A few school officials indicated they believed the student or students were playing a prank and did not intend to cause serious harm.

Peter B. McDowell, director of secondary education for Carroll County schools, said at least one South Carroll High student has been disciplined, but would not say whether the punishment was suspension.

Officials said the student became remorseful after the instructor became ill and confessed his role in the incident.

The investigation began after the teacher drank an unknown amount of the adulterated coffee and had a reaction he thought was a heart attack, said a source.

The instructor sought medical attention the same day, but was not aware of what was in the drink until the next day, according to officials.

Police and school officials said appropriate disciplinary actio will be taken against any student or students involved.

Mr. McDowell said the incident may not be unusual in the sense that students sometimes play tricks on teachers, but that it was more serious than any he could recall in his 27 years in the system because of the risk to the teacher's health.

"I'm not saying this was a prank," he said. "I'm just saying I'm no aware of anything of this serious a nature."

The teacher was back at work this week, but did not return a call made to the school yesterday.

Principal David Booz said school system policy is not to discuss disciplinary actions against individual students.

"All I can tell you is there is a police investigation," he said. "We're doing everything we should. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. We're still continuing our investigation."

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