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High School is Shut Down After Principal and Teacher 'Turn it into Their Very Own Meth Den'

The Daily Mail, Jul. 27, 2011

A high school has been shut down after officials discovered the principal and another teacher had allegedly turned it into their own meth den.

They found traces of methamphetamine throughout the school, including the principal's office, the bathrooms and the hallways.

Keith Phipps and Jack Turley are accused of smoking the drug at Boone County Career and Technical Center in Danville, West Virginia.

Police say it is unlikely that the drug was manufactured at the school, although Turley has been charged with making meth and buying illegal amounts of Sudafed to do so.

Phipps, the principal has been charged with buying illegal amounts of the cold medicine.

He allegedly admitted to having smoked methamphetamines in his office when the pair were arrested in March.

Officials then began testing the school and on Monday announced it would be closed 'until further notice' after they found traces of methamphetamines in the buildings air ducts, hallways and bathrooms.

Boone County Schools Superintendent told the Charleston Daily Mail: 'To our knowledge, this is unprecedented in West Virginia public schools.

'We are appalled that anything like this could happen on school property and are taking immediate steps to protect our students and other school staff.'

He said most of the methamphetamine residue was found around the principal's office, but it had spread further afield, too.

Assistant superintendent Jeff Huffman said: 'Based on the amount of residue found, we felt it was in the best interests of employees and students to go ahead and close the facility while we continue to complete our testing and begin the required remediation process for various parts of the facility.'

Had the methamphetamine been made at the school, he added, 'The readings from the test results would be much, much greater.'

Officials are now working to remove all traces of the drug from the building, but say it could be a lengthy and expensive process and it is unlikely to be ready in time for the start of the school year in August.

The 450 students enrolled at the school, who come from the county's three high schools, may have to start the semester in a temporary building.

The use of methamphetamine, which can cause brain damage and violent behavior, has ravaged many rural communities.