Earlier last week, many parents with children in Huntington Beach’s Ocean View School District were upset that only 3 out of 11 schools were closed for asbestos testing, after inspectors found fibers in one of the school’s classrooms. This week, however, as children are left with no school to go to for the 2nd week, some parents are upset that there is no communication from the school district as to when their kids can return to their education.
On Monday morning, angry parents, along with students, marched in front of the Ocean View School District’s office, demanding answers about the asbestos problems in the schools and explanation as to when their children can’t return to school. Most of the parents, like Olga Flores, are worried about their children’s education.
“We brought our kids because they want their school back. They want their education back. What’s going to happen with the kids’ education? We have not got any answers at all. We come to meetings and they just stand up and walk away,” said Flores, who has children who attend Oak View Elementary, one of the schools that’s closed down for asbestos testing.
Flores’ children aren’t the only ones affected by asbestos testing. At least 750 Oak View kids have been out of school for almost two weeks. An additional 100 children who attend the other two elementary schools that are closed for asbestos testing are also out of school.
However, authorities are following state and federal regulations after finding asbestos fibers in one of the school’s classrooms. Since the school buildings were built prior to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) strict regulations on asbestos use in the late 1970s, the materials used when constructing the schools contain asbestos-containing materials (ACMs).
Although only a small amount of asbestos was found in one of the schools, Ocean View district spokesperson Tom DeLapp told local reporters that they are not taking any chances.
“Two classrooms got a reading that was above the 70 structures [per square millimeter]. But it wasn’t high above. It was a very, very small amount above the threshold. Nevertheless, we took the steps and we’re going to be moving towards abatement,” said DeLapp.
Children Not Allowed Their Schools
However, until the asbestos abatement is fully completed, children are not allowed to return to the closed schools. While many parents are angry that their children cannot attend schools, others understand and are relieved that the problem is being taken care of.
“I was worried because the last that I heard they were just going to clean out the schools but not remove the asbestos and the major cause of the asbestos getting down into the classrooms so now I am a lot more relieved in regards to my student,” said Matthew McCarrick, a Hope View Elementary School parent.
The school district scheduled a meeting to take place today, involving a panel of asbestos experts, doctors, and an industrial hygienist, to speak with concerned parents about what’s going on with the schools and the dangers of asbestos. Although it’s been many decades since the EPA made the public aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure, many people aren’t aware of just how dangerous asbestos can be, and that it not only affects older people, but can harm people of all ages.
Children, especially, are more prone to the dangers of asbestos. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR), since children have more time to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, they are at heightened risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Keep in mind that if you or a loved one have been injured by asbestos, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation. In fact, trust funds with over $30 billion have been set aside for victims of asbestos-related illnesses. For more information, we invite you to contact our leading mesothelioma attorneys today for a free, confidential compensation.