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March 19, 2008

Toxic Schools Improve Learning

...Learning about how to put together and protest an injustice that is.

Residents Protest Toxic Schools

Advocates and community members gathered Tuesday in front of State Senator Frank Padavan’s Bellerose office to protest his lax legislation concerning environmentally contaminated school sites and to announce a leafleting campaign to educate constituents in Padavan’s district about the issue.

The meeting was hosted by Dave Palmer, a lawyer for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, which represents community groups dealing with environmentally contaminated school sites. School sites leased by the City do not require the same type of community, political and environmental review processes as schools owned by the City. This loophole allows for schools to be located on contaminated sites posing health threats to children, according to the organization.

“All of that we think places children at risk,” Palmer said.

“Children are most vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals.”

At the meeting Tuesday, Katie Acton, whose daughter attended PS 65 in Ozone Park from 1999 to 2002 spoke about the toxins beneath the school that she believes led her daughter to develop asthma. Acton belongs to PS 65 Parents and Neighborhood Against TCE, which now has a lawsuit against the City. The school is located is a former airplane parts factory.

“Leaving the school, her health has improved and so have her grades,” Acton said. “It is my understanding that the Department of Education knew of the contamination before the families.”

It is pretty sad in this day and age that significant problems such as toxicity affecting the youth in society and drugs in the drinking water; its a scary world we live in.

More power to the protesters, children deserve clean and safe environments to learn in.