2 Teachers, Students at Hollywood High School Hospitalized After Breaking Out in Rashes

Second floor evacuated, classroom quarantined after rash break out

By Brian Hamacher, Diana Gonzalez, Lisa Orkin Emmanuel and Sharon Lawson
|  Wednesday, May 16, 2012  |  Updated 10:21 PM EDT
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A Hollywood high school was placed on lockdown Wednesday after two teachers and 12 students developed rashes, officials said. Tracy Clark, with the Broward County Public Schools and freshman Stephan Stewart talk about the incident.

A Hollywood high school was placed on lockdown Wednesday after two teachers and 12 students developed rashes, officials said. Tracy Clark, with the Broward County Public Schools and freshman Stephan Stewart talk about the incident.

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Students Released From Hospital After School Hazmat

The two teachers and 12 students were released from the hospital. They had been transported to Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe Dimaggio Children's Hospital on a county bus with an isolation unit. Hear from family members of the students taken to the hospital.
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A Hollywood high school was placed on lockdown Wednesday after two teachers and 12 students developed rashes, officials said.

The incident happened in a reading room in a building at McArthur High School at 6501 Hollywood Boulevard.

A total of 21 students, mostly 9th and 10th graders, and one teacher were in the reading room when they began to have symptoms. A second teacher who came in to the room also got a rash.

"The principal was notified that a teacher had a rash-like symptom on her arm,and then when they started to look into the situation they noticed other students had a rash like symptoms as well," said Tracy Clark, with the Broward County Public Schools.

Hollywood Fire Rescue Chief Mark Steele said a Hazmat team was brought in to the school to try to determine what caused the rashes.

The incident caused the second floor of the building to be evacuated as a precaution and the classroom was quarantined, officials said.

By 1 p.m., the school was given the all clear, and officials said regular dismissal would be at 2:30 p.m. Parents with questions were asked to call 754-321-3600.

The two teachers and 12 students were released from the hospital. They had been transported to Memorial Regional Hospital and Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital on a county bus with an isolation unit.

They had hives and were itching all over, but they were stable and didn't have respiratory problems, authorities said.

A contamination area was set up at the hospital to treat those affected.

Pharrah Cocio was concerned about her niece, who was taken to the hospital.

"She's my niece, I was really scared cause I didn't know – I was thinking it was anthrax, I was thinking all kinds of things," Cocio said. "She was in a class, she walked out to get a piece of paper from the library, and all of a sudden she started feeling itching."

All the students were being escorted to and from the cafeteria for lunch, and the children in the affected area were being quarantined in the auditorium and gym as a precaution.

"We're taking every precaution that's available to us to make sure that the safety not just of the students but all the employees and all the teachers in the school are being addressed," Hollywood Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Joel Medina said.

Officials said three rooms at the school would be cleaned Wednesday night and classes would resume Thursday as normal.

Authorities are still investigating the incident.

"We was going to class and the bell rung, and I was walking into the class and they shoed me out pushed me out. They said don't go in there. It's bug infested. Somebody had a rash and they sent us to the auditorium," said freshman Stephan Stewart.

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