School to stay closed

By UTE SCHULENBERG

A PRACTICAL joke that went wrong saw Dorrigo High School closed yesterday and all staff and students relocated to Dorrigo Public School.

The substance, which had still not been positively identified late yesterday afternoon, was found to have been distributed around a number of sites at the school, including in some students' bags at about 1.45pm on Wednesday.

The school was then closed as a precautionary measure.

Most students had already left the premises at that time to attend a sporting event.

Dorrigo Fire Brigade and the Coffs Harbour Hazardous Materials crew removed a tin containing a white granular substance, which was then sent to the Department of Environment and Climate Change laboratories in Sydney for identification.

The substance was found at a total of six sites around the school.

Dorrigo Police was called in to investigate possible sources of the chemical.

Acting NSW Fire Brigade duty commander, Inspector Rob Jansen, said one student who reported feeling unwell on Wednesday afternoon was taken to the local hospital but later released after being checked.

Students said the chemical smelled like rotten eggs and claimed it could already be smelt at the school on Tuesday.

They said the substance was brought into the school as a 'fart-bomb' and that it came from the abandoned Dorrigo Abattoirs site.

"It's some type of fly attractant that they used there to keep flies away from the meat," one student said.

A resident, who did not wish to be named, said kids often 'ferret around' at the old abattoirs but there was no maliciousness intended in the prank.

Department of Education spokesman, Sven Wright, said disciplinary action was being taken against the students responsible.

He said a final clean-up following the spill was taking place today.

"Students were requested to attend Dorrigo Public School again today (Friday) but school will resume as usual on Monday," Mr Wright said.



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