Exclusive: Chemical Odor at Truman During ‘Finals Week’ Allegedly Makes Students ‘Sick’

Truman High School on Monday Credit: Photo Journalist Nicole Polidori


Moments ago, The Bristol Township School District confirmed there was a release of a chemical Truman High School last week.

On Wednesday morning this reporter began to receive reports form several sources and concerned parents about the incident during “finals week.”

School District Spokesperson, Leeza Raffel, on behalf of Superintendent Dr. Melanie Gehrens, said in a statement  “Students in Truman’s wood shop class were adding lacquer to a table last week.  The smell of the lacquer caused some students to experience headaches. The smell dissipated within ten minutes The District is aware of one teacher seeking attention at an urgent care facility. We have no confirmation that students sought medical attention outside of  school.”

A concerned parent who asked not to be identified, said “We spent five hours in the St. Mary’s Emergency Room late Wednesday night into to Thursday morning.

A second source, part of the district’s administration structure, said over the weekend they’re aware of students going to urgent care, but “nothing was done by the school, or school district” when alerted to then alleged, now confirmed, chemical release.

Two additional sources with knowledge of the incident said the chemical being used at the time in the wood working class, contains, Xylene “which is very toxic.”  Both sources allege more than 20 students received treatment for “headaches and nausea,” at area medical facilities.

According to academic researchers of the chemical, the main effect of inhaling Xylene vapors, (a central nervous system depressant) is the potential for headaches, nausea, dizziness, and sometimes vomiting.

Exposure is reversible according to academic articles on the National Institute of Health website.

As of publication, there is no evidence parents were told by the school district of the release/odor

We expect to be updating this report later this evening

Freelance Photo Journalist Nicole Polidori contributed to this report.