Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, January 20, 2013

More PCB Horror Stories From One NYC School

Last Wednesday NYCDOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott struck out at striking school bus drivers and matrons, saying “The union drivers are striking against our children, plain and simple."

Walcott attacked the labor action as harming children and slammed the striking workers as selfish.

Meanwhile at PS 50 in Staten Island, the following was occurring:

OAKWOOD — Parents of children at P.S. 50, in Oakwood, rallied outside the school Friday to demand the city replace the PCB light fixtures in the school after light fixtures ruptured in two classrooms in January.

Peter Whalen, 6, a third-grader at the school, said that on Monday, the lights went out in his classroom and when he looked at the light fixture above him he saw smoke.

“I looked up [and] it popped and then started sizzling,” he said. “As it was sizzling it was smoking, white smoke.”

Peter said that another light caught on fire too, and the one he was sitting under came down right above his head.

Parents complained that they were never initially notified by the school of the Jan. 14 incident, and only found out about it when their kids came home from school talking about it. Parents said they were upset that the kids were going to go in the same room the next day.

“We don't want out kids going back in that classroom,” said Paul Whalen, Peter’s father.

After getting dismissive answers from the school’s administration, Paul Whalen contacted New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, which already has a 2011 lawsuit pending against the Department of Education about speeding up the removal of PCB lights in schools.

Christina Giorgio, staff attorney with the NYLPI working on the case, said that the DOE is required to tell parents immediately about any incidents, and said the DOE should work on replacing all PCB lights in schools before more situations like this happen again.

“It is a very clear example of the Department of Education acting irresponsibly,” Giorgio said.

“The Department of Education knows full well that these lights are leaking and many of them are going to rupture like this," she said. "This is not the end of the situation. This is the start of what's going to be a snowballing of recurring events like this in these schools.”

A similar PCB light fixture rupture occurred on January 7 at PS 50, but parents weren't notified by the school about the incident until a week later - too late to hold their kids out from school over health concerns.
Kids weren't taken from the room after the January 7 rupture.  Instead the windows were opened and kids were told to put their coats on to keep from getting cold.

This is the third school to have leaking PCB's this school year - the problems were previously reported at I.S 204 Long Island City and P.S. 41 in Staten Island in September.

For Walcott to slam striking bus drivers and matrons as selfish people harming children when his administration refuses to be held accountable for the PCB light fixture mess, had to be taken to court to even agree to get the fixtures out of schools, and is dragging their feet on the timetable to do it, is unconscionable.

Quite simply, Dennis Walcott and his boss, Michael Bloomberg, are two of the most horrible and hypocritical people on the planet.

They claim to be for children first...always when they're aiming their reforms at teachers and the UFT.

But when it really comes to really putting children first - like making sure they're attending school in a safe, healthy environment - they don't care AT ALL.

Bloomberg and Walcott First.  Always.

That's the real DOE motto.

Bloomberg and Walcott claim the teachers don't care about kids, the school bus drivers and the matrons don't care about kids - only they care about kids.

If they really cared about kids, the FIRST thing they would do, long before the Common Core implementation, long before the infusion of technology in order to carry out the Common Core/APPR testing procedures, would be to make sure the schools are safe and healthy for children to attend.

Clearly they care nothing for children, nothing for the adults who have to work in these schools.

You can bet if these fixtures were exploding at Bloomberg LP headquarters or over Bloomberg's head at City Hall, they would be fixed ASAP.

Maybe a better motto for the DOE would be:

Bloomberg and Walcott.  Hypocrites Always.

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