HISD new rules to handle suspicious mail

October 12, 2010 5:09:52 AM PDT
Today, there are new rules for how all mail will be handled at all HISD schools. This after 17 schools received envelopes filled with a harmless powder. Askew Elementary is one of three schools to receive powdery packets most recently, taking the number of schools on the list to 17. And today is the first day mail will be delivered since the start of the widespread mail scare on Friday. Yesterday of course was a federal holiday, so there was no postal service.

While the substance in some of the envelopes was tested by the health department and found not to be dangerous, school officials have new procedures in place for handling mail, in case more of these envelopes show up.

Starting today, all mail must be screened when it's opened. It will be done so before or after school hours and in an isolated area. If an item seems suspicious, air conditioning must be turned off; the room should be evacuated and secured.

Additionally, the person who handled the suspicious mail should be isolated and police will be notified. Protected personnel will handle the envelopes from there.

"They are in full protective gear. They're gonna take every precaution to make sure they don't become exposed to it until we get an identification of what's going on," said an official.

The FBI has taken over as the lead agency investigating this school mail scare. The person responsible could be charged with terroristic threat.


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