Bellport school near landfill to stay open despite health concerns

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BELLPORT -

Frank P. Long Intermediate School in Bellport will be open this school year, despite pleas from parents, teachers and students to have it closed over reoccurring health issues. 

The South Country School Board voted to keep the building open after a heated public hearing Wednesday night.

The school sits in the shadow of the Brookhaven Town Landfill, which many have blamed for ongoing health issues like asthma, thyroid cancer and connective tissue disease in teachers.

School officials, who didn't want to speak to News 12, told parents Wednesday that testing in the area has found nothing significant. The state Health Department called the indoor air samples "unremarkable" and the Department of Environmental Conservation blamed "vehicular traffic" for any positive volatile organic chemicals (VOCs).  

Trish Gallina, a teacher at the school for 10 years and second vice president of the Teachers Association, says being inside the school is to blame for her chronic medical issues and a past battle with cancer.

"We were very disappointed last night, but we are not going to stop our quest to find out where the problems are coming from and how to support our teachers and students," she told News 12 Long Island

She added that it was "kind of obvious [the school board] made the decision before they heard the testimony from everyone."

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