As a parent, it's not exactly an email you want to get from your child's school district: For almost a week, "explosive training material" was left under the hood of a school bus in Loudoun County, Va., that carried dozens of kids while the material was inside. The CIA performed training exercises with local law enforcement agencies at a high school during the school's spring break from March 21 to March 24 and placed the material into the engine compartment of the bus in order to test a dog's ability to detect the scent there, the Washington Post reports. But some of the material (a school spokesperson describes it as a "putty-type" explosive that requires a special detonator) fell further down into the compartment and was not removed until a routine maintenance check on Wednesday uncovered it.
While the material was still in the bus, it made eight runs for a total of 145 miles and carried 26 students from elementary school age to high school age. Parents were informed of the mix-up in an email, Fox News reports, but the email was short on details, and many parents were left wanting better answers. "What are 'explosives training materials' anyway?" says one. "That could mean a lot of things, none of which belong on a school bus." The CIA, which helped the local sheriff's office and fire department remove the material from the bus Wednesday, says in a statement that the material "did not pose a danger to passengers on the bus." The Post notes that "putty, or plastic, explosives ... are used in demolition and are considered stable," and NBC Washington reports that, per a school spokesperson, no detonator or triggering device was included with the explosive material, so it was considered inert and benign.