Besides the harmful level of toxins found at PS 51, Councilman Koppell raised concerns and demanded immediate environmental tests be conducted at the Bronx Dance Academy and the High School of American Studies.
KOPPELL CALLS HANDLING OF DISCLOSURE OF TOXIC CHEMICAL AT BRONX NEW SCHOOL EGREGIOUS
Requests Expeditious Response to Parent Concerns
Demands Inspection of Other DOE Leased Space In District
In a letter to Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Council Member Oliver Koppell called the way in which the Department of Education handled the disclosure of the dangerous levels of trichloroethylene at the Bronx New School (PS 51) egregious and totally unacceptable. “The sixth month delay in informing parents of the hazardous level of the toxic chemical in the school, has created anger and distrust among the parents about the integrity and transparency of the DOE, as well as concerns about their children’s health,” he said.
Koppell urged the Chancellor to respond expeditiously to the parents’ medical concerns and issues with respect to the school’s relocation, including reassurance about the new school’s environmental safety. Koppell also said the DOE must take steps to help safeguard the health of those who may have been exposed to TCE. He advocated instituting a number of steps including making a list of past and present students and providing them with up-to-date information on a regular basis about new developments concerning the health effects of exposure to trichloroethylene, as well as providing medical screening and surveillance for those exposed to the chemical, as deemed appropriate by environmental and occupational health professionals.
Koppell stressed that parents must be given clear and specific information about bus schedules and routes, and a streamlined process for those who wish to transfer to another school.
Calls for Testing Other DOE Leased Space in District
Koppell called for immediate testing for TCE prior to the opening of school at two other schools in his district, the Bronx Dance Academy and the High School of American Studies, which are located in leased space and have not undergone environmental testing. He requested that the test results be shared with the parents.
Koppell concluded by calling on the Chancellor to, “revise the DOE’s environmental testing policy for leased space in order to prevent students and teachers from being exposed to the same dangerous environmental conditions as were found at the Bronx New School.