School Closes After Officers, Nurse Exposed to Fentanyl From Student's Vape Pen

Two student resource officers and a school nurse were treated for exposure to fentanyl on Tuesday after a vape pen was confiscated from a 17-year-old student at a high school in Madisonville, Tennessee, according to authorities.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said two of its student resource officers and the school nurse were administered Narcan after they were exposed to the opioid. All three were transported to a local hospital and were said to be in stable condition.

Sequoyah High School, where the incident occurred, will be closed Wednesday and Thursday for cleaning and sanitizing, according to the local ABC-affiliated station WATE-TV.

"The 17-year-old student who brought the vape pen into the school was taken into custody," the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The department also said the incident is still being investigated.

Man vape
Two student resource officers and a school nurse were taken to a hospital after being exposed to fentanyl from a student's vape pen. In this undated stock photo, a man is seen exhaling from a vape pen. Getty

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said the contents of the vaping device had been tested and confirmed to be fentanyl.

WATE reported a hazmat team from a local drug task force responded to remove any possible fentanyl residue. The task force later posted about the incident on Facebook.

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WATE spoke with parents and Sequoyah High School students who said drugs have become a problem at the school.

Senior Tami Scott described Tuesday's incident to the station. She said, "Both of our SR [student resource] officers left the school on stretchers. It was horrifying. To go to school where you have to go to get an education, and you're scared to even go to school anymore."

"People just passing out in the hallways, everybody getting locked in their classrooms, teachers running out of the classes to deal with it, ambulances, first responders," Scott told the station. "It makes me not want to go to school. I'm on the brink of truancy because I don't want to go to school."

Dr. Kristi Windsor, the director of schools for Monroe County, released a statement about the incident on Tuesday.

"At Sequoyah High School this afternoon, school personnel and numerous other agencies responded to a situation that sent two school resource officers and one school system employee in for medical examination and treatment due to possible physical exposure to fentanyl," she wrote. "We have since been told that all three are stable. Though federal privacy laws prevent us from sharing more specific information, we can confirm that a student has already been arrested in relation to this incident."

Windsor said that with help from local agencies, including the drug task force, the school was "thoroughly inspected." However, to fully assure the safety of staff and students, she said a private cleaning and restoration firm was brought in to further clean and sanitize the school.

Windsor added, "[W]e are also devastated that this situation occurred and interrupted our students' learning while causing anxiety for all involved. At no point, however, did we feel in communicating and working with law enforcement that our students' safety was at risk."

Random drug dog searches will be used in the future and school faculty and staff will be given additional training on the signs and symptoms of drug use, Windsor said.

"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," Windsor wrote.