Kids staying home over alleged asbestos
Some parents in Patchogue-Medford say they won?t be sending their kids back to school Tuesday after a town-wide debate has erupted over an alleged cover up of an asbestos problem.
Last week, News 12 Long Island reported a Medford resident captured video at Eagle Elementary School that he says shows asbestos on pipes and ceilings. A custodian and a former custodian at the school confirmed the presence of asbestos and say kids and staff have been breathing it in for years. The owner of an asbestos removal project also says he believed the photographs showed contamination.
Parents gathered in front of the school Monday morning in protest of the district?s response. The majority of the parents say they had no idea there was any problem with asbestos at their kids? school until they saw and heard about it on News 12.
?As a parent, I cannot put my daughter in that school if I have any inkling that there is asbestos in the air,? Medford parent John Culotta says. ?I just can't. It's not responsible on my part.?
After the state charged the district with asbestos violations last year, it hired a licensed contractor to remove asbestos from the building in April. District officials say the school has always been safe. Parents are skeptical.
Over the weekend, a resident's home video camera recorded workers inside the school. A notice said asbestos materials were being removed from 20 locations in the building and the district notified parents air testing was done on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. An automated phone message said there is not airborne asbestos in the building.
The parents say they?re not sending their children back to school until they get answers. They?re asking for another air quality test to be performed by the company of their choice. The district is holding a meeting Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Eagle Elementary School.