Area Middle School Students Are Accidently Gassed By Training Exercise
More than two dozen West Carroll Middle School students on an annual field trip to Thomson, Ill., were taken to area hospitals Thursday after exposure to tear gas from the nearby Administrative United States Penitentiary.
About 40 seventh-grade students from the school were on the trip north of the prison when the wind shifted. That blew gas being used in a prison training exercise some distance away over the students and accompanying staff. When some complained of discomfort due to eye, nose and throat irritation, emergency personnel were called in.
After a medical assessment, two students were taken to CGH Medical Center in Sterling and 11 to FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport. Another 13 students and staff were bused to FHN with minor symptoms. All eventually were treated and released.
West Carroll C.U.S.D. #314 issued a statement Friday thanking prison officials for their quick response and for taking responsibility for the incident. The district also thanked school staff, local emergency crews and police departments for helping make sure the affected students were quickly taken care of.
The district also says it will work with local support services to provide information and resources to the affected families.