New Seattle school making kids sick



Posted on April 13, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 14 at 11:24 AM

SEATTLE - It's a brand-new school, but several Seattle students say their classrooms are making them sick.

Astara Leeder-Chenvert say the smell of wet paint made her sick to her stomach.

"I was feeling sweaty and hot. I thought I was going to throw up," she said.

So the 7th grader texted her mother to come and pick her up. Chandre Chenvert says her daughter has been getting sick for months.

"It’s scary. You don’t feel comfortable sending your kids to school if they will have a long-term problems," she said.

Parents say the problems at South Shore K-8 began last December. Sixth graders began reporting symptoms such as headaches, nausea and rashes. When students returned from spring break last week, parents say the problem got worse. On Tuesday, several parents pulled their kids out of classes because of student complaining of illness.

Alyssa Royse says she has complained to the district since December. Royse is frustrated.

"It’s been going on for months and we have not gotten any answers," she said.

Parent Leslie Selle said she started getting sick when she came to pick up her daughter today.

"I became nauseous. My throat was sore and sticky. I also got a headache," she said.

Selle worries about her 6th grade daughter’s long-term health.

"Close the school . No amount of toxicity is acceptable when it comes to your children’s health," she said.

Seattle Public Schools is aware of the problem.

"We are actively working on this issue," said district spokesperson Patti Spencer.

Spencer says the district has brought in professionals to test and monitor the air quality levels in the classroom.

Spencer says the problem worsens when the HVAC system is not on. The system is now being run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Spencer says the HVAC system was turned off for spring break week. When students returned this week, Spencer says the students began experiencing headaches and nausea.

Tuesday the District took the drastic step of shutting down the second floor wing where the complaints are coming from.

"We are concerned for our students and staff so we are taking action,” said Spencer.

Several parents say they plan to keep their kids out of school until the problem is located and permanently fixed.

Tracy Armour is one of those parents. "It’s very concerning. It’s upsetting. Not only are our children learning in this building, they are developing," she said.