Saying “staff and children could be at risk,” an Ocean View School Board member has filed an official complaint with CAL/OSHA “for possible asbestos handling violations” after learning it was being removed from several Huntington Beach schools in the district.
“I am personally embarrassed, and our district is shamed and chagrined in the face of a community uproar over their children walking around in the middle of asbestos abatement,” said John Briscoe, who filed the complaint Thursday.
According to the superintendent, a modernization project was going on at 11 schools in the district. Some of the construction work led to removal of asbestos from campuses.
“We were told by the district that the asbestos would be removed in summer when kids weren’t here,” said Briscoe, who has served on the board for eight years. “Then we’re sitting in a board meeting and we found out that, holy socks, it’s being removed right now with kids in schools wandering around all over the place.”
Some parents said they were not aware about the asbestos issue until last week.
“We were told that it was taken care of over the summer. And we’ve now learned that that’s not true,” parent Stephanie Green said.
The superintendent said parents were informed of the modernization project over the summer. However, there was apparently no mention of asbestos.
Some students have complained of sudden rashes appearing in the past two weeks, but it was not immediately clear whether the conditions were related to the presence of asbestos.
District officials said the asbestos work has stopped, and any remaining asbestos was not a safety hazard for students or staff.
Some parents said they weren’t convinced.
“At least get us the information so we can make decisions on behalf of our own children whether they should attend school or not,” Green said.
Other angry parents have also threatened to pull their kids out of school.
The construction work was expected to be done by the end of October, according the principal of Hope View Elementary School.