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Students dismissed after Hazmat situation at Topsail High School

READ MORE: Students dismissed after Hazmat situation at Topsail High School
It was supposed to be school as usual at Topsail High Thursday. It was anything but, and the cause of the trouble is still unknown. All Topsail High School parent Holly Howell wanted to do was pick her son up early to go on a hunting trip. "When I came back to pick him, I was told I couldn't have him," she said. More than 1,000 students were evacuated Thursday morning after they noticed a strange odor coming from a Spanish classroom. EMS, police and Hazmat crews quickly came to the school to try and identify the problem. All entrances to Topsail High School were closed. No one was allowed in the building except for Hazmat crews, and parents were not allowed to pick up their kids. "They said I have no right to pick him up. He belongs to the school right now,” added Howell. “He does not belong to me right now, he belongs to the school. And so he has been out there since this morning with no food or any drink since from what I understand." The high school students were asked to sit on the football field bleachers and wait for word from Hazmat. Four hours later, the students were still outside. Students next door at the middle school were affected too. They usually come to the high school to hop on the bus home. After hours of testing air quality and checking pipes in the school, there was still no concrete word on the source of the smell. The building was deemed safe, and students were allowed back in the building to pack up their things. Topsail High School has been open for less than a year. WWAY has been told the problem was not a gas leak. This event has caused school officials to reconsider their emergency plan. School resumes this morning as usual.

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I was there!

I am a student that just graduated from Topsail... and the day of the gas leak was eventful... My mom was coming to the school right as we were be evacuated and she walked up with me to the football field where we were all being held and when she tried to leave about an hour later they wouldn't let her leave either even though she never actually went into the building eventually they let her leave but the teachers and students still had to sit the for about 3 more hours. But the only thing that really bothered any of us was the heat and the fact we had no water or drink. They said that if we were contaminated and ate or drank it could make us sick or something so there is no reason to sue the school for not letting the kids out...

2 Questions

1. What heat? This took place in November. which leads to my second question

2. Why wait nearly 8 months to post on an item which is no longer relevant? Many animals go through the entire gestation period in less time then it took you to post.


Weather Underground lists the tempature for November 5th, 2009 in Topsail to be a high of 69F. For some of our slug studens that never leave the front of a tv that might be a little hot.


operating procedures people. IF HazMat gets called in they can QUARANTINE EVERYONE in the area until they can identify the product and ensure it isn't hazardous to the individuals OR MORE IMPORTANTLY it isn't something that can be carried out of the control area and SPREAD...thank your lucky stars you have a HazMat team that knows what they are doing.

We were thinking of placing

We were thinking of placing our daughter in your school, but we would never consider doing it after what we just read. The government does not have the right to hold our children, under any circumstances. What happened to freedom? To the rights of the people? I'm very disappointed to see what North Carolina has become.

Self-Absorbed Fool

People like you only think of yourself and not of others. Say the police and hazmat crews let parents pick up their kids that day. Lets use the example in the story, where the parent was taking her kid hunting. After the kid is gone, the crews find out that the "fumes" were harmful and the students that inhaled the "fumes" need to seek medical help. So here is a parent and their kid out hunting, the police and hazmat crews dont have the responsiblity to track down all the kids they let go down, and this kid get seriously ill, or dies from the fumes they inhaled. Think about the situation, and how everything went well. Don't just think about your pompous rear and how you were inconvenienced for not being to pick up your kid early.

ABCs of the Constitution

Self-absorbed? Surely you jest.

As a mother and school system employee, I'm particularly disturbed by the thought that anyone believes my child can legally be kept from me. As long as I have not abused or neglected my child, you and the rest of the free world have no right whatsoever to prevent my child from being in my possession. In fact, the argument could be made for kidnapping, in that my child was held against his will by a seperate, non-legal entity.

Click on the link below to read the NC State statue (§ 66A‑15.1.) regarding anyone who ignores a state of emergency warning. The school had zero right to keep that woman from picking up her child, but it would have been her fault/ responsibility had she left with him, and he been sick.


On the other hand, here's a link that may inform you of rights guaranteed to you by the first document penned for our country and it's people and the lack of respect it's given in schools.


Many of us have let the government and it's agencies control things that they have no right to control. What my kids eat and wear are my decisions. Where they are at any given time, and who they're with, also my decision.

If I enroll my child in your institution, I can also withdraw them at any time I choose. Be it during an emergency evacuation or not. Also, if you pay close attention to the way the article was worded, you will see that students were not under quarantine, they had simply been evacuated from the premises.

It seems to me that the teachers and staff didn't want to put in the work of recording names by hand on a clipboard as students were picked up. Did you forget in the few short years you've been with a computer that once it was all done on paper? Or do you not know how to work anything without a mouse?

The truth is that we as parents and citizens need to reduce the power given to these agencies in order to prevent a future monarchy like the one our ancestors left Europe for. I'd rather the risk of a sick child than a another group who thinks they can control my family. You tend yours, I'll tend mine.

Please help us to put these people back in their place of "limited power". Educate yourself, vote for the right candidates. Don't vote to pass bills or measures that give more ridiculous amounts of control to these groups. Fight the power and bring the control home where it belongs.

PLEASE give me a break

All students were effected by this because they didn't let the middle schoolers out on time either. I understand why they didn't let kids go. What if they let the one go that might had started this. I am not saying any one did. I am very greatful that no one was hurt. Thanks to the schools and all EMS,firemen and women.. Why don't we start with thanking the people that came and took their time to help our kids... Instead of putting them down or start screaming lawsuits.. Please.. be thankful that we aren't making CNN with a worse story at school.

Did I read this right?

Did I read this right? Student's parents were NOT allowed to pick them up? Am I in CUBA? That is the most obsurd thing I have ever heard. A parent (or many) should file a lawsuit. IF we don't challenge these things, our rights will erode away.

That's right...let's just

That's right...let's just all get together and start suing...that's the American way! You can go right ahead...but good luck! School officials have the right to deny a parent from picking up their child during school hours.

No, schools keep records of

No, schools keep records of who is eligible to pick up a child during school hours but they have no right to hold the child if the parent who is on the approved list is there to pick them up. If there was a possible medical reason for the kids to remain or be supervised by medical personnel then the parents could have been informed but the school's "right" to a child does not legally infringe upon a custodial parent's rights.


It is people like you, who want to file lawsuits over every little thing, that has caused society to be where it is. These were HS kids who were safe and accounted for during a possible emergency in the school. If the school just let them all walk away and something happened to one of them then you would have been screaming "sue the school" as well. As for the not eating or having a drink for 4 hours, wow I'm suprised any of them survived. The school made the safe decision and if that put a parent or student out a little thats ok. I would be glad to wait a few minutes or hours for my son if it was to make sure he was safe.

Students must be signed out

Students must be signed out of school by a parent or guardian. The school must keep a record of this. The school has a responsibility to allow only those listed to sign children out. When you have no access to these records or forms, you cannot let children leave. It's a safety matter. There is no need to sue people who are protecting your children. Thank God they do!


Glad everyone is ok, but i'm sure in a few weeks there will be a lawsuit from some student who has come down with mesothiliomasbestosismoldsporitis.

I am just gald everyone is

I am just gald everyone is ok and that nothing truly harmful was going on. I am also glad that we were able to have an eye opener before something really went wrong!!!!!!! Lets hope we all learned a lesson from this!!!