Substitute teacher's coffee may have been poisoned

3:33 PM, Apr 29, 2010   |    comments
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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (NBC) -- A substitute teacher is recovering after school officials say he may have been poisoned after taking a sip of coffee during a welding class.

Michael Shea, superintendent of the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School, said police interviewed all 30 students and three faculty who were in the shop when the substitute teacher consumed the possibly tainted java between 8 and 8:30 a.m.

"There is the possibility that it may have been tampered with," said Shea. He added the coffee had a "strong odor."

"Fortunately, we don't think he swallowed a lot," he said.

Shea said after the teacher sipped coffee, he spit it out and later vomited.

The school nurse called an ambulance, which took the teacher to St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford where he was released later that day, Shea said.

He declined to identify the teacher, but said he is a graduate of the high school who regularly substitutes, volunteers as a baseball coach and is well liked.

Shea said the teacher brought the coffee into the school from home in a plastic cup, which was handed over to police.

He said he does not know what was put in the cup.

Shea added no chemicals are missing from the shop.

A message for police Chief Ronald E. Teachman was not immediately returned.

Shea said the teacher is expected to recover.

"He's doing well," he said.


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