The Cajon Valley (Calif.) Union district plans to reopen an elementary school that has been closed since last year because of concerns that toxic fumes were making students and staff sick.
KSWB-TV reports that some parents are opposed to reopening Magnolia Elementary School in El Cajon for 2016-17. The campus was closed for 2015-16 after a lawsuit accused an aerospace company, Ametek, which had a plant adjacent to the school, of dumping toxic waste into the ground beneath the school site.
The lawsuit contends that from 1963 to 1985, Ametek and its predecessors released underground chlorinated solvent waste that resulted in vapor intrusion into the classrooms at Magnolia Elementary and caused students and staff to become ill.
Cajon Valley Superintendent David Miyashiro, in a letter to Magnolia parents, expresses confidence that the campus is safe.
"The experts have completed comprehensive testing and put significant and reassuring safety measures in place," the superintendent wrote. "The Board of Education and I are completely confident our campus is safe, and we are excited to return."
But the attorney who brought the lawsuit, John Fiske, says, "There’s a giant, contaminated plume that is underground, underneath the school, and vapors have come up through the soil, through the slab of the school and into the indoor air, so little kids and teachers who are of child-bearing age are breathing toxic fumes.”
The closure forced the relocation of about 600 students to Bostonia Language Academy for 2015-16.
Video from KSWB-TV: