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Northwestern Wisconsin school reopens after chemical leak

22December 2021

SPOONER, Wis. — Officials in Spooner have reopened a middle school after a mysterious chemical leak in November triggered an evacuation and left dozens of students sick.

Wisconsin Public Radio reported that the school district announced the school would reopen on Tuesday. But parents said they’re upset that the district hasn’t provided clear answers about what students were exposed to or whether the problem has really been resolved.

The district evacuated the school on Nov. 10 and initially blamed a contractor coating sewer pipes near the school for causing the leak.

District officials said in a news release Monday announcing the reopening that the school has been aired out and environmental reports have been completed. The release suggests the chemical styrene, which is used to make plastics and rubber, may have been the culprit.

That’s not good enough for some parents. Stacy Metzig, whose daughter Shakayla was treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning following the evacuation, wants to know exactly the chemical was and what caused the leak.

“You’re saying that the school is closed and then all of a sudden we get a thing stating that you’re reopening,” she said. “I’m 100 percent not comfortable sending (Shakayla) back.”

Wisconsin Public Radio requested the environmental reports but the district refused to turn them over, citing an open investigation.

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