Parents: Asbestos being removed from school while students are in building

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WEST HEMPSTEAD -

Parents say they're concerned about asbestos removal at a West Hempstead elementary school that's happening while students are in the building.

Melissa Geannone, of West Hempstead, has a 9-year-old daughter who attends the George Washington School. She says she was unaware of an asbestos problem in the school's window caulking until she saw a notice posted on the side doors of the school. That was just two days before asbestos abatement work began.

The district released a letter saying the work will be done after school hours and, because window caulking has low potential for the release of asbestos fibers, air testing is not required. But in a letter to parents, school officials say that air testing will take place, as a precautionary measure, before students re-enter. Parents say that doesn't ease their concern.

"There's still after-school activities going on," Geannone says. "So how are you telling me you're doing it after school when school children are still on the grounds while you're doing this work?"

Geannone says the district started asbestos removal at West Hempstead High School in 2017 without proper notification. Her son was a senior at the time and took photos of work being done while students were in the building.

"Now my son's got his asthma, he's got kidney conditions because of this same thing," she says.

A district spokesperson declined a request for an on-camera interview.

Geannone says she and up to 100 other parents are planning to keep their children out of school starting Friday.

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