Mystery odor cancels classes at Rockland County school

The News Leader

September 28, 2010 8:14:40 PM PDT
A Rockland County school will remain closed for the rest of the week while officials try to figure out where a mysterious odor is coming from.

Tests are being conducted on the air, soil and water to make sure it is safe for students.

Now worried parents are demanding answers.

The end of the day in the Clarkstown central school district brought no easy answer to a question that has been plaguing the administration here. What is behind a mysterious odor that has caused some students and staff at Laurel Plains Elementary to get sick?

"I think they should close the school and find out what it is," said parent Ellen Brown.

Brown's 6-year-old son Matthew is a 1st-grader at the school which is now shut down while comprehensive air, soil and water quality tests are run.

The elementary school students are for the time being attending classes at Clarkstown South High?a move many concerned parents don't mind.

"Not at all. It's his first step and he took a great step in high school," said parent Dan Muscato.

Last week, the school was evacuated and the ventilation system tested and cleaned?but the complaints persisted. "Did you smell it? Outside of the school?just a little bit," said Brown. Parent Debra Termine added that the odor left a "metallic taste, neck, back a glaze over the body."

Today, school administrators refused our requests for an on-camera interview, as some parents complained the situation should have been handled differently from the beginning.

"For one, a better communication system because you know once everything gets going, stories change by the time it gets to different people. So I never had any direct information from the school themselves," said Termine.

The school district has indicated Laurel Plains will likely remain closed at least through Monday. That's when the results of the latest tests are expected.