NAPLES, Italy — In the wake of the expulsion and suspension of several students for inhaling chemicals, a meeting has been called by the Naples High School administration for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the high school’s information center.

Two high school students were recently expelled and several others suspended for using an electronics cleaning product as an inhalant.

Two students reported the incident Oct. 30 after witnessing two of their classmates inhaling the substance in a seventh-period chemistry class.

During an investigation led by high school principal Kay Galloway and assistant principal Cristina Echevarria, it was discovered that students had passed around the inhalant on a school bus to and from the Gaeta naval support activity.

“In all of these cases, the kids have make-up privileges,” Galloway said. “So even though the kids are expelled, we’re giving them homework assignments. They have a choice of homework assignments or correspondence courses.”

The product used, Dust Blaster, manufactured by Kensington, is intended for cleaning electronics and computer devices, such as keyboards.

It contains tetrafluroethane, a chemical that can withstand pressure and has nonstatic properties, said Michael Ota, public relations consultant for Kensington.

Chronic exposure to the product may cause reproductive damage, frostbite or skin burns. A material safety data sheet obtained from Galloway reported that the tetrafluroethane targets the heart and can cause rapid suffocation.

The product was purchased at the Gricignano support site mini-mart. The store manager has since prohibited the sale of Dust Blaster to persons younger than 18.

Galloway said that this is the first incident involving inhalants at the school since she became principal in November 1999.

The use of the Dust Blaster product as an inhalant among Department of Defense Dependents School students is not foreign, however.

In May, as many as 30 Rota, Spain, students were involved in inhaling the Dust Blaster product off campus, said David Glasgow Farragut High School principal E.B. Stafford.

Personnel from the U.S. Naval Hospital, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling will be present at the Naples meeting to provide information and answer questions from students, parents and teachers.

“I think some people were a little shocked that we were as frightened for the kids as we were,” Galloway said. “A couple of the parents of the students involved had said that the kids had thought it was just a game.”

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