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Tuesday, May 25, 2004



Blazing napalm lands
students in hot water


KEAAU, Hawaii >> Along with toy guns and firecracker bombs, napalm has been added to the list of dangerous things students have brought this year to Keaau High School south of Hilo.

School officials last week discovered students watching the homemade jellied gasoline burn on the school lawn after a boy brought it to school in a glass jar, Principal Peg O'Brien said.

"It scared the heck of them. I don't think they realized how flammable it was going to be," she said.

Three boys were suspended for the rest of the school year, she said. Although suspension may sound like a vacation, students do take it as a punishment because they can't socialize with friends, she said.

When O'Brien discussed the incident with the teaching staff, she discovered some of the younger teachers had never heard of napalm. O'Brien said the last she heard of it herself was during the Vietnam War.

But kids know about it, easily finding recipes for it on the Internet, she said.

Keaau High School has acquired something of a reputation for dangerous devices, but the reputation is exaggerated, O'Brien said.

An explosive device detonated in a remote area of the school grounds in April, which police at first thought was a pipe bomb, and turned out to be firecracker gunpowder in a plastic foam cup, she said.

A similar device in January was set off in a metal trash can, sending metal flying but injuring no one.

The only guns brought to the school have been a BB gun and a paint ball gun, O'Brien said.

Across the street at Keaau Middle School, students brought real guns to school in 2002.

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