Whitehaven High School evacuated after white powdery substance is found - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Whitehaven High School evacuated after white powdery substance is found

Whitehaven High School in Memphis was evacuated Wednesday after a student discovered a soda can with a white powdery substance inside it.

Officials said students at the school were sent home after the device was found inside Building D on the school's campus.

The campus was evacuated when school officials determined the substance was suspicious in nature.

Memphis Police and Memphis Firefighters were called to the school to recover the device, which they said was non-explosive. 

The white powdery substance was determined to be a non-dairy creamer.

The building where the soda can was found was deemed to be safe a short time later.

Officials said classes would resume on schedule at the school Thursday.

The incident happened between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. Wednesday.

The following information statement was released by Memphis City Schools:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Earlier today, a student at Whitehaven High School found a suspicious object inside one of the school's buildings. This student alertly contacted MCS security and school administrators, and the Memphis Police Department was called immediately to investigate. As a safety precaution, all students and staff were evacuated from the building while MPD officers were inside.
During the investigation, officers discovered a suspicious substance inside the object that will require further testing by Hazardous Materials inspectors. As a result, no students or staff members were allowed back into the building. We are now awaiting confirmation from MPD to be absolutely sure the building is safe to continue learning tomorrow.

No students were injured during this investigation, and every step was taken to ensure order and safety among students while police inspected the school. Due to a lack of confirmed information at the time of this investigation, parent communications had to be delayed. However, a ParentLink phone message is being distributed to all parents of Whitehaven High School to inform them of all known details regarding this situation."

-- Memphis City Schools

The following is a draft of the ParentLink phone message that is being distributed to parents of White Station High School:

"Hello. This is Whitehaven High School calling to inform you of an incident that occurred on our campus this afternoon. A suspicious object was found inside the "D" building of our school this afternoon. We contacted the Memphis Police Department immediately to investigate the building, and as a safety precaution, we cleared all students and staff members from this building while officers were inside the school. While investigating, officers discovered a suspicious substance inside of the object. Please understand that no one was injured during this investigative test. To be absolutely sure this part of the school is safe for learning, we will wait to hear from police about what this substance is before allowing students and staff to return to the building.

We will do our best to keep you informed of any new details we learn from this police investigation before the start of school tomorrow. We want to assure you that providing a safe learning environment for our students and staff remains a top priority at Whitehaven High. Thank you."

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