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Old 05-12-2004   #1
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Student brings mercury to school..

Student who brought mercury to school gets probation

Steve Timko
RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
5/11/2004 11:18 pm
A student who brought mercury to Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, causing the school’s closure Jan. 6 for cleanup and extending the school year for 852 students, was sentenced Tuesday to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Douglas District Judge David Gamble wants the boy, who turned 15 this month, to pay $6,400 in restitution to the students and $5,000 to the Douglas County School District.

Gamble told the boy to pay $200 a month in restitution beginning June 1. The judge also ordered the defendant to write apology letters to the school district and to students at the Gardnerville Ranchos school who lost mercury-contaminated clothing, backpacks and other items through the clean-up efforts. The boy is also to write a school report on the health problems that mercury can cause. The school was closed for eight days.

All of this stemmed from the youth bringing a quarter cup of the heavy metal mercury to school after winter vacation and taking it to different classes to show students.

“I wasn’t thinking about what could happen,” the boy told Gamble during sentencing.

Defense lawyer Nathan Tod Young called the defendant a good kid.

“Without being told, ... he is courteous. He is polite,” Young said. “I think it was true he did not grasp how serious it was.”

The boy and his

Gamble acknowledged the $5,000 he ordered in restitution to the school district was only a fraction of the clean-up costs.

Rick Kester, school district director of business services, said the latest estimate is $163,000, including replacing carpet and lockers.

None of that is being paid by insurance, Kester said, so the school district will have to cover the costs unless it can find another source.

The school district has a $45 million operating budget, so clean-up costs won’t mean the loss of teachers or closing programs, he said.

Principal Robbin Pedrett said the new gymnasium floor was finished by March 12, new carpet for the school was finished over spring break and new physical education lockers will be installed this summer.

With no lockers, students are taking physical education in street clothes.

“Of course, the hotter the weather gets, the more difficult that is,” Pedrett said.

Another problem is the last day of school is now June 23 instead of June 11, she said. Many students plan to attend academic or athletic summer camps.

“Some of them have already paid for their camps,” Pedrett said. “I wonder what our attendance will look like those last two weeks.”

The restitution to the students will mainly cover those who came in contact with the mercury by using the library, she said. Restitution doesn’t include all the school-issued uniforms that parents buy for $14 each that were tossed out when the physical education lockers were thrown out, and the students’ shoes that were tossed away, Pedrett said.

Still the community showed support with donations of school supplies and shoes, she said.
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Old 05-12-2004   #2
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...you get my point...lol
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Old 05-12-2004   #3
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wow, that takes over-reacting to a whole new Plateau
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Old 05-13-2004   #4
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the kid shouldn't get that heavy of punishment..he didn't know any better...tho it did cause a lotta trouble..
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