Last week, we brought you a story about asbestos exposure in two Fullerton, California, high schools. Writing in the 6 June 2007 issue of the Los Angeles Times, reporter Tony Barboza said that school officials had in fact alerted the community about hazardous materials at public meetings, and that warning signs were clearly placed at works sites. School administrators also said that all procedures required by state and federal laws were followed. This included the use of trained, certified asbestos abatement personnel as well as monitoring of air quality.
Nonetheless, the 82 teachers who signed a petition to Superintendent George Gioraki demanding action on the matter expressed deep concerns about the health consequences of the asbestos exposure, adding that students and parents should have been notified specifically that asbestos was being handled while school was in session. There are genuine fears that adequate steps to protect the health of students and school employees were not taken. People who commented on the story online agreed. “Mike” holds Giorakis responsible: “How could he be so careless and thoughtless? From what I have seen this is his standard method of operation.”
Another blogger, “Renee,” pointed out a problem with simply posting warning signs, writing that it is not “… fair to the special education program there at TRHS when so many kids do not read, write, or understand if anything was posted or said.” She adds, “There was no information sent home to these parents.” “Mello” has children attending Fullerton High school, and had this to say: “[my daughters] tell me the tiles were falling on kids all year and they also saw open areas in the roof of class rooms. “ In response, “MrArg” wrote: “Obviously the superintendent [and] the Fullerton High School District Board members don’t care…they will even do the asbestos removal while kids are at school. If they gave them any time off they would lose ADA money.” “Dirk” pointed out that the school district was well aware of how the job was supposed to be done, and wonders why procedures weren’t followed at Troy High School. He speculates: “Could it be that in the RUSH to get the job done on time [and on] budget they were willing to take a chance and let the building be occupied during abatement?” Those commenting on the situation understand that the worst is likely to come over the future decades. “Mike” summed it up when he said: “The district is going to be liable for all the medical bills and pain and suffering lawsuits.”