Strong odor in Visalia school restroom causes difficulty breathing, triggers evacuation

A strong odor in a restroom at Valley Oak Middle School in Visalia on Tuesday afternoon triggered an evacuation, the school district reported.

One staff member reported difficulty breathing shortly after 1:30 p.m. and others in a nearby classroom reported the smell, officials with Visalia Unified said in a news release.

Visalia Fire Department and Visalia Police Department are investigating the incident. An ambulance was called as a precaution.

No other students or staff showed signs of coughing or difficulty breathing,.

District officials said students unaffected by the incident will be dismissed following regular procedure. The students being monitored by Visalia Fire Department will stay at the site until released. Those parents have been notified.

The school district emphasized that the safety and wellbeing of its students and staff remained the top priority.

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Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.