UPPER WEST SIDE — PCB leaked in another two Upper West Side schools in the past two months, education officials said — adding to a growing list of affected schools and concern among parents.
P.S. 242, the Young Diplomats Magnet Academy on West 120th Street, had leaks of the carcinogenic chemical polychlorinated biphenyl last month, according to the Department of Education.
P.S. 185, The Early Childhood Discovery and Design Magnet School on West 112th Street, had a leak in early March, the DOE said.
The reaction of parents?
The recent incidents add to a brewing distrust in the district, particularly at P.S. 242.
Parent Angela Jenkins has taken her second grade daughter out of school for the remainder of the year and is homeschooling her after the PCB leak convinced her the school was unsafe, she said.
"I don’t trust the DOE with my daughter. There’s so much lying and cover-up," said Jenkins, adding the school was evasive about the leak and its remediation plan. "I have to really ask my self, 'Do I want to send my daughter there?'"
And why isn't the DOE doing more air testing, taking additional safety precautions?
Why cost, of course:
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal is working on a bill that would force the DOE to speed up the remediation timeline.
“Once again, lighting ballasts leak PCBs in schools and the Department of Education recklessly dithers...The DOE must stop making parents choose between their children’s health and their education. I renew my demand that the City remove all toxic PCB lighting ballasts from classrooms immediately,” Rosenthal said.
The DOE does not conduct air quality testing after a PCB leak, which is one way to ensure chemicals aren't leaching into the air, said District 3 Superintendent Ilene Altschul. The United Federation of Teachers, however, performed air quality testing at P.S. 242, Altschul said.
Air testing is "incredibly expensive and it requires a space be completely shut down," said Community Education Council member Michelle Ciulla Lipkin of testing. "It’s a very cumbersome process.
"It’s absurd that we’re not doing more air testing," she added, "but it’s a much more expensive proposition."