When school makes you sick, who pays the bill?
SPRING HILL — The smell wafting through the school fell somewhere between bleach and ammonia on the nausea scale, students said. It made some of them vomit. Others complained of breathing problems and headache. Administrators at the Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics erred on the side of caution on Jan. 26, evacuating all 1,475 students and calling for help. Hazardous materials crews from both Hernando and Pasco counties responded, and took 36 children to the hospital. More than a month later, officials say they don't know what caused the mystery smell. And now parents are getting the medical bills. Hernando County school officials say they can't be held liable for a smell of unknown origin, and their insurance administrator has refused to pay claims on that basis. Check tomorrow's St. Petersburg Times, and the Gradebook, to read the full report.
- Tom Marshall, Hernando County education reporter