More than 90 TISD personnel showed up to search campuses across the district Monday. Superintendent David Simmons said the search was under the directive of Gov. Rick Perry who ordered campuses in 93 counties to search for potentially toxic shuttle debris.
Thirty minutes into the search, Tyler Police and Fire were called to Bell Elementary to investigate two suspicious objects; an alloy-type metal behind a building, and a bone in a field nearby.
In a statement, released Monday, Tyler ISD says, "the bone fragment found at Bell was later deemed to be that of an animal and a metal object found on the property remains unidentified." Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle says the objects will be tagged, kept in evidence and distributed to the proper authorities. But he says no items in Tyler have been directly tied to the shuttle. While he doubts the bone or metal object at Bell are parts of the wreckage, Chief Swindle says the department would rather be safe than sorry.
Tyler ISD says all campuses have been cleared and classes will resume tomorrow, but their advising students not to touch any unfamiliar objects.
A more substantial report came from Tyler Water Utilities, where an employee found what appears to be a burnt shuttle tile. The employee discovered the piece of insulation on a loading dock while coming to work.
"It was an unusual piece that we don't use around here," Bill Morgan said. The rectangular object is less than one foot and about 2 1/2 inches thick with burn marks around the edges, according to City of Tyler reports. It too will be saved.
Tyler P.D. was also called to UT-Tyler's engineering school Monday, where an employee found a suspicious metal piece behind a building.
"Its nothing we would normally have here, " says James Mills, a technician at the UT-Tyler School of Engineering. "It appears to be aluminum, possibly titanium, just a small piece, but its not normal to this environment."
Tyler ISD closed schools Monday while looking for debris on the campuses.
Authorities are reminding citizens not to touch debris and report it to authorities immediately.
You can call DPS at 1-800-525-5555 or NASA at 1-281-483-3388.