School Letters Determined Safe, Officials Say

Powdery substance said to be non-toxic

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    The substance found inside two envelopes at two different North Texas schools Tuesday was non-toxic, officials said. 

    The first incident took place at Ethridge Elementary School in Garland just before 10 a.m. when a powdery substance spilled out of a letter and onto a school secretary.

    After the first incident, all Garland schools were advised to take precautions with the mail. Shortly before 11 a.m. at Armstrong Elementary in Sachse, a suspicious letter was also found to contain a powdery, white substance. 

    In both cases, students and faculty were evacuated from the school until it was determined that the substance posed no threat.

    The letters are being investigated by the Garland police and fire departments, the Sachse Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    FBI SAC Robert E. Casey is requesting the public’s assistance in identifying the person or persons responsible for sending the letters.

    "Sending a hoax letter, threatening imminent death and containing unknown substances, is a serious crime that drains precious, limited, first-responder resources," Casey said in a news release. "Threatening letters, whether they contain white powder or not, even if their threat is a hoax, will be thoroughly investigated by the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service and other law enforcement agencies."

    In both cases, field testing indicated the material posed no threat to anyone's health or safety, Casey said. 

    Further laboratory testing will be done to determine what the powder is.

    Anyone with information about who may be responsible for sending these white powder hoax letters should call the Dallas FBI Office of the FBI at 972-559-5000 or their local police agency. 

    Ethridge Incident

    Just before 10 a.m., a secretary at Ethridge Elementary School going through the mail came across the white powder. The secretary, who said the substance made her feel itchy, was transported to Baylor Hospital in Garland as a precaution and placed in a negative pressure room.  Students were evacuated to nearby North Garland High School

    Firefighters in HAZMAT suits entered the school and are took possession of the substance, later determined to be non-toxic.

    Parents were allowed to pick up their children at the high school.  Students who remained at the high school were sent back to Ethridge.

    The elementary school is located at 2301 Sam Houston Drive. Students at the school were scheduled to take the TAKS test on Tuesday.  That test has now been canceled.

    Armstrong Incident

    After the Ethridge letter was found, a memo went out to all campuses in the Garland Independent School District advising them of the situation and to pay special attention to the U.S. Mail.  Just before 11 a.m., the suspicious letter was found.

    The Armstrong students were then evacuated to the playground while emergency personnel looked into the substance and determined it was not a threat.

    After the all-clear, the children were returned to class.

    Armstrong, located at 4750 Ben Davis in Sachse, is also part of the Garland ISD.