Earlier this month, several parents with children who attend Huntington Beach, California schools filed a complaint with OSHA against the Ocean View School District after asbestos was detected in schools during renovations. This week, the school district announced that at least three elementary schools will stay closed. The decision came after a 4 to 1 vote among the Board of Trustees.
According to reports, asbestos fibers were first found in one of the classrooms in Hope Elementary School, after an inspection was carried out by an industrial hygiene specialist. Shortly after, asbestos was also found at the nearby Lake View Elementary School. Both schools will remain closed while being thoroughly tested and cleaned, which could take up to 10 weeks.
Another school, Oak View Elementary, is also closed while official wait for the asbestos test results. Samples from the school were sent off out of state after California state laboratories became backed up from other testings from the Oak View School District. The other eight schools in the Oak View district will remain open, but asbestos testing is being done each weekend for each school. Since the eight schools weren’t created with metal ceilings, officials speculate that they are not as dangerous as the three schools that are closed.
Parents filed a complaint with OSHA earlier this month after several schools began renovations during the school year, even though parents were told the renovations were to take place over the summer months, when children were not in school. The school district has since apologized for the miscommunication and vows to get everything cleaned up as soon as possible.
Parents Spread Awareness
Several parents, however, are not satisfied with the decision to keep any schools open at all while testing is being done. Two parents, Shelby Atwood and Jennifer Johnson, have been protesting this week, and telling parents they have the right to keep their children home from school until the testing is complete. They spent most of Wednesday handing out flyers to other parents, written in both English and Vietnamese. One of the schools in the district, Star View Elementary, has a large presence of Vietnamese students. Atwood feels that school district has failed to communicate thoroughly with the Vietnamese-speaking parents.
“I think there is a huge barrier. I guess if we designated one (Vietnamese) spokesman for the school it would be a start,” Atwood told local reporters.
After this week’s meeting, many parents were satisfied that three schools were remaining closed, yet others, along with Atwood and Johnson, were extremely upset that the other eight schools are remaining open. However, an attorney for the school district states that if this situation is handled incorrectly, the district could go bankrupt.
The school district’s assistant superintendent of administrative service, Ron Ellis, has also been under heat by concerned parents, who feel she should resign from her position for allowing asbestos exposure to happen while kids were in school. Ellis, however, stated that she has no plans of leaving her position.
Keep in mind that if you or a loved on have been affected by asbestos exposure, you have legal rights and options. Contact our leading mesothelioma attorneys today for a free, no-obligation case consultation.