LITTLE EGG HARBOR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Is the health of teachers and students at a New Jersey school at risk?
Complaints have gone unanswered and some parents in Little Egg Harbor say they are being stonewalled by the school district after the high school was deemed unsafe for classes.
On Thursday, CBS2’s Meg Baker joined teachers in demanding answers.
In early October when Pinelands Regional High School was still up and running, roof work continued despite questions about air quality.
Students and staff complained of a noxious smell that was making them sick.
Mel Reid is the president of the teachers’ association. He said the school was late in identifying the asbestos problem, and was told to stop work, especially since students and staff were inside.
“This revelation caused serious concern because roofing activity continues through September in disregard of this recommendation,” Reid said.
The latest testing done by the EPA shows asbestos not only inside the school, but outside on the school grounds.
The district told CBS2 at the time that the closure would be brief, but the doors have now been shut for more than a month. The high school and middle school have been running on split sessions.
“The half-day sessions, my son wants to go to college. This is hurting him, he’s a good student, but still frustrating for him,” Kenneth Persichetti said.
“It’s like four hours of school, and we basically do nothing,” Chris Benya said.
“We have a lot of work online, and it’s harder because we aren’t getting all the lessons,” Lex Kelley said.
CBS2’s Baker went to the district office on Thursday, and was told the superintendent was not in. Emails also went unanswered.
The state department of education said the high school is meeting the minimum hours of instruction time for a school day, which is four hours.
One father said the situation is drastically disrupting people’s lives, and wants the district to take responsibility.
“If they are not communicating with us and not communicating with their staff, who in god’s world are they communicating with?” Perischetti asked.
Parents want to know if their kids were harmed, and when the school will be back to normal.
The department of education said it also checked to make sure the district is working with project professionals to ensure the school meets all health and safety requirements.