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Asbestos Scare At Brooklyn School Has Parents Furious At Department Of Education

Agency Plans To Address Issue ASAP, But Lawmaker, Others Say Not So Fast
Brooklyn school asbestos scare

Demonstrators held up signs outside P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn on April 24, 2012, in response to the Department of Education’s decision to start an asbestos abatement program immediately. (Photo: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Department of Education is about to start removing asbestos at a Cobble Hill, Brooklyn public school, but parents said it should wait until classes get out for the summer.

They wore masks and held up signs Tuesday to dramatize their demand that the DOE postpone an asbestos abatement program at P.S. 29.

“This is really serious. They don’t care about our school. They don’t care about our teachers’ health or our kids’ health,” parent Michael Nigro told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

The parents are upset because they just learned last week that the city plans to immediately begin removing asbestos at the school, where 708 kids take classes from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.

“It’s totally and terribly wrong. They should wait,” one parent said.

All the students know about it. How can they not? The DOE announced the $9 million construction project by posting signs this week on the front door. They read: “Danger. Asbestos. Cancer and Lung Disease Hazard.”

“I’m just a little scared. Like, what if it gets on others and me and I get cancer and I’m really scared about that,” fourth grader Makhi Clemmons said.

“It makes me feel a little scared because I don’t know if I’m going to get cancer or not,” fifth grader Luca Nigro added.

“So much stuff that can really harm us,” fifth grader Samantha Goldberg said.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said the DOE should halt the program until the situation fully explained to the parents and their concerns are answered.

“When you hear the word ‘asbestos,’ I can tell you as a parent myself, when you hear the word ‘asbestos’ you think you’re child’s in danger,” de Blasio said.

The DOE said the asbestos remediation will begin Friday after school. It said it will not postpone the project because it could take as long as 18 months and it needs the time to do the work.

In addition to removing the asbestos, the entire project includes a new roof and parapets and replacing some windows.

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