The all-clear has been given at Mt. Juliet High School after a suspicious package containing a powdery substance prompted the school’s evacuation and early dismissal.
The incident was reported Monday morning at the school located on Golden Bear Gateway in Mt. Juliet. Wilson County Sheriff’s officials have issued an update, saying the school has been cleared and will be operating on a regular schedule Tuesday.
Students were first evacuated before the early dismissal was announced.
Wilson County School officials said car riders and buses were dismissed, and any students who weren't picked up by 11 a.m. were transported to Mount Juliet Middle School.
Parents were reportedly notified of the update.
According to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, a school staffer opened the package and came into contact with a powder. She reported that the substance irritated her skin.
School officials said contrary to some reports, no students have gotten sick.
Sheriff Robert Bryan said they have turned off the air conditioning units in the school to limit any potential circulation of the powder.
The substance would be tested and further analyzed. It’s unclear at this time who sent the package. The staffer was said to be fine, but would likely be examined by a doctor.
Principal Mel Brown sent out the following statement to parents regarding the students' belongings:
"Good Afternoon from Mt. Juliet High School,
Due to the evacuation today, we understand that many students left their belongings, however, the building is locked down and secured at this time. No one is allowed in the building to get their things.
We will open school at normal time tomorrow. Thank you for your patience and cooperation."
Parents also received the following letter from Wilson County School officials about the incident:
This is Jennifer Johnson, with Wilson Co. Schools, updating you on the crisis that occurred this morning at Mt. Juliet High School.
At approximately 8:30 this morning, a suspicious package, addressed to Principal, Mel Brown, was delivered to the office. That package was subsequently opened by an administrative assistant, who immediately noticed that the items inside were suspicious. Within minutes, this staffer began feeling ill. Per our protocol, WEMA and the Sheriff's Department were immediately notified, and within 10 minutes... students were safely evacuated to the football field. At the urging of WEMA, we dismissed school for the day, while law enforcement officials worked to determine what had happened.
Approximately an hour ago, preliminary tests revealed that the substance inside the suspicious package was NOT a threat. Hazmat crews have thoroughly cleaned the area in question, and the building has been deemed safe for school tomorrow. We can not commend your children enough for the speed in which they responded to what could have been a very dangerous situation. Students will be able to collect their belongings, which were left inside the building, first thing tomorrow morning.
We understand that this has been an inconvenience, but when it comes to the lives of your children, we can not take chances. Our first response will ALWAYS be to protect your children and ask law enforcement intervene. We're pleased to report that the Wilson Co. Sheriff's Department has some credible leads as to who may have sent this package, and we will keep you updated, in the event that any arrests are made. As always, thank you for partnering with the Wilson Co. School system, as we work, not only educate your children, but keep them safe.