ARCADIA, Fla. - Students at DeSoto Middle School return to class on Monday, after an unexpectedly long Spring Break.
The Environmental Protection Agency gave the all-clear for campus last Friday, after an 8th grade student brought mercury into class 11 days ago, not realizing its danger.
Friday, WINK News returned to Arcadia to find the boy's home was still undergoing EPA remediation. Crews on scene told WINK the contamination had spread into the floor, requiring much of it to be ripped up and replaced.
The family is staying in a nearby motel. WINK News Anchor Cayle Thompson found them Friday afternoon. The boy's mother said she wasn't aware of mercury's danger, and that her family was fine. Crews at the home say the family should be able to return on Monday.
Cleanup crews found three to five pounds of mercury in the family's home, after the boy brought a small vile to class in what officials have called a show-and-tell gone wrong.
Costs to clean the home will be paid for with federal funds from the EPA. However, an EPA spokesperson tells WINK News the expense of cleaning up the middle school campus, along with testing buses and other facilities, will be paid for by the district. Marcia Saulo, Director of Finance for DeSoto schools, said she hopes to have an estimate by the end of next week.
Parents of other middle school children tell WINK News they understand the 8th grade boy unknowingly made a mistake, and aren't angry. Many are just glad to see school resume.