TUCKERTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A mystery illness is sweeping through a New Jersey high school.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Tuesday, several students have been overcome by fumes, and parents said not enough is being done to keep their children safe.
Pinelands Regional High School in Tuckerton, New Jersey was closed last week after students complained of a sickening odor. Classes resumed Tuesday, despite conflicting air quality reports.
Anastasia Freyre left school early Tuesday after feeling light-headed and nauseated from the smell inside the school.
“The fumes were just really awful. They were just like really like chemically like bad smelling, and a lot of students coughing and getting migraines,” said Freyre, a senior, “and my eyes like actually started to burn because of how bad it was.”
The air had been contaminated by an ongoing roofing project.
“I want to know what’s going on,” said Anastasia’s mother, Cary Freye. “This is so unsafe.”
Many students have experienced migraines and more.
“He had a lot of burning in his upper chest and nose,” said parent Andrea Janssen.
“My daughter has a rash on her right arm,” said mother Christina O’Brien.
Macayla Quigley, a sophomore, showed CBS2 pictures of falling ceiling tiles and what she said was mold.
“There’s dust falling from ceilings onto us,” she said. “It’s so dust that we can write our names, like, in dust in desks.”
CBS2’s Baker walked into the school with O’Brien, who is not sending her kids back to school until she gets answers.
Baker reported the smell was undeniable, like a strong plastic scent. She said she could barely stand to be inside for more than 10 minutes.
CBS2 demanded answers and an on-camera interview from the school and the district to explain what was going. But all they would do is issue a statement from Acting Supt. Dr. Cheryl Stevenson:
“An enhanced cleaning protocol will be put into effect to address the dust and unfamiliar odors associated with building construction.”
CBS2 also asked the school what was being done to remediate the situation and when the roofing project would be completed. There has been no response. The PSAT tests are set for Wednesday, and some parents said they feel forced to send their kids in for the test.
Parents who spoke to Baker said they plan to be at the school board meeting Wednesday night.