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Parents Voice Concern, Anger Over Vegas School Mercury Find

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Concerned parents directed sometimes angry questions at officials after the discovery of a small amount of mercury at a Las Vegas school prompted an hourslong screening for exposure for more than a thousand children.

The session with parents Thursday evening came as authorities investigated if a student brought the substance to Walter Johnson Junior High School on Wednesday, forcing 1,300 students, teachers and first responders to undergo testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to Clark County School District police Capt. Ken Young.

The testing at the school went on for hours, with people slowly trickling out through Wednesday night until 5 a.m. Thursday. Meanwhile, hundreds of anxious parents waited outside. School was canceled for Friday.

It’s too early to say what charges or discipline could be imposed, Young said. No mercury-related illnesses have been reported. High levels of exposure can cause mercury poisoning, which has symptoms including muscle weakness and speech, hearing and walking impairment, the EPA’s website says.

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