Nevada closes school for at-risk teens after owners’ arrests

February 15, 2019
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Patricia Chappuis, left, followed by her husband Marcel, appear in court for a hearing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Marcel Chappuis and his wife, Patricia, the owners of a rural Nevada boarding school for at-risk teens and adolescents have been arrested on multiple child endangerment charges alleging that they served tainted water to students living at the facility. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada officials have shut down a boarding school for at-risk teens after its owners were accused of forcing students to drink tainted tap water.

State health department spokeswoman Chrystal Main said Friday that Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley has closed.

A telephone message to the facility about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Las Vegas was not immediately answered.

Defense attorney Malcolm LaVergne and Nye County sheriff’s officials say owners Marcel and Patricia Chappuis (shap-WEE’) posted bail to be freed from jail pending a March 18 court appearance.

They’re accused of endangering 43 students by failing to provide enough bottled water for drinking, washing and cooking to replace tap water contaminated with arsenic.

Patricia Chappuis also faces two felony child abuse counts.

LaVergne says they’ll plead not guilty and fight the charges.