Lawsuit blames toxic conditions at Brookhaven school for death of former student

The lawsuit claims the boy’s non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by toxic conditions at the school because it is located close to a town landfill.

News 12 Staff

Jan 23, 2023, 10:20 AM

Updated 508 days ago


A lawsuit was announced Monday against the South Country School District and the Town of Brookhaven in connection to the death of a teenage boy.
The lawsuit claims the boy's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was caused by toxic conditions at the school because it is located close to a town landfill.
The mother of Javien Coleman filed the lawsuit, claiming the school failed to relocate away from the Brookhaven Landfill and prevent toxic exposure.
The lawsuit claims the town and school district failed and refused to take prudent actions regarding air quality and toxic exposure to students at Frank P. Long Intermediate School.
The school is located at the foot of the Brookhaven Landfill, which generates odors and toxic air emissions.
Coleman passed on Oct. 26, 2022 of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at 13 years old.
Attorneys say the type of cancer that Coleman had is caused by exposure to a certain chemical found in the school that could have come from the landfill.
Issues of toxic air quality at the school have been a topic of controversy for years. Teachers who worked at the school identified high rates of cancer and other illnesses, and there are several ongoing lawsuits.
Frank P. Long is a two-year intermediate school for fourth and fifth grades. The school discussed the option of relocating, but the school board refused to acknowledge any problems, according to the lawsuit.
Others who lived at a transitional shelter near the school also have questions about the landfill.
Kanisha Brown says she lived in the New Suffolk shelter for two years and in that time, she was diagnosed with three types of cancers.
"Being in the shelter for people who don't have much money you cook with that water, you feed your children with that water, you bath in it," Brown says. "So, it's every day, all day and especially for those without transportation to give them relief and not spend 24 hours a day there - it's just a heartbreaking situation."
Brown says more studies need to be done to include residents and former residents of the shelter to see if they have been affected.

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