Sampson: Manalapan Early Dismissal Went By the Books
The Freehold Regional High School District said the school was cleared of paint fumes, but dismissed on May 2 as a precaution.
A precutionary early dismissal on May 2 at Manalapan High School was done by the books, according to Superintendent Charles Sampson.
At approximately 11:35 a.m., students and faculty complained of a strong odor near the gymnasium in the high school. The cause of the odor was determined to be paint fumes coming from the boiler room.
"It was unacceptable," Sampson said.
Sampson expanded by saying the paint was approved for use in school, but not doing school hours.
County health officials cleared the building and advised that evacuation was unnecessary, however school officials decided to dismiss students at 2 p.m., after arrangements were made for busing.
During the situation, students were kept away from the area of school where odor was detected. In addition, Sampson said, students were not allowed to eat cafeteria food, for fear it was exposed to fumes.
But Manalapan mother Gina Francia said she called the school at noon, and was told there was nothing to worry about. According to Sampson, the decision for early dismissal was made at 11:55 a.m.
"I can't control how an individual chooses to interpret or respond," Sampson said of the phone call.
Francia said she was told by the main office at Manalapan High School that the situation was simply that a teacher became ill during the day. She did not receive the emergency alert robo-call until 12:54 p.m.
"What if it was flammable, what if it was combustible?" she said. "Why weren't they brought outside to fresh air?"
Sampson said the school acted on the advice of the county health officials, who had cleared the building, and followed procedure to dispatch buses early.