Meeting to address health concerns at Frank P. Long Intermediate School in Brookhaven

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Thursday, August 17, 2017
Meeting on health concerns at LI school
CeFaan Kim reports a meeting was held to address health concerns at a Long Island school.

BROOKHAVEN, New York (WABC) -- Parents, teachers and district residents hoped to get more answers Wednesday night as they have been urging the closing of Frank P. Long Intermediate School in Brookhaven amid concerns about environmental and health hazards. The school is less than a mile from a 192-acre landfill.

The South Country School Board held a special meeting at Bellport High School to further address those concerns as students and teachers have been complaining rashes and other health problems.

"I want all of you to look me in the eye and tell me that you are 110% sure that this school will not make another child or another teacher sick," said parent Amy Bender.

"Once trust is lost, it doesn't return immediately upon request. Thank you," a teacher said.

Parents of students at Frank P. Long Intermediate School in Brookhaven were not showing much faith in their school board.

Parents and teachers have been pushing to shut down the school, with some of the symptoms downright frightening.

"Her eyes swelled up and she had a rash around her eyes. That turned into swallowing problems. She couldn't swallow solid foods for 8 weeks," Adele Michelsen, a parent, said.

"In January these mysterious rashes came about and then vomiting. He was vomiting after every meal," Caroline Wilkinson, another parent, said.

"I started feeling sick in the beginning of 4th grade. I just felt sick. I couldn't do things out of school because I felt sick," Skye Dodge, former student, said.

"She lost her sense of smell. Her eyes were always tearing. She was always ripping at her skin and there was nothing on her skin. She itched it until she bled," said Amy Bender.

What do they all share in common?

They or their kids attended 4th and 5th grade at the school.

At a special meeting at Bellport High School, parents didn't pull any punches. Almost 700 attend 4th and 5th grade at a school less than a mile from the landfill.

Parents think it's spewing toxic air. And it's not just students.

32 teachers were diagnosed with cancer or have fallen ill with mysterious illnesses.

Health officials have been conducting air quality tests since 2014.

But results came back low enough that the state department of health said last week no additional indoor air testing is necessary.

Not good enough for some parents.

"I'm not sending her to this school. So you guys have to hear me and listen to me now, she cannot go. Would you put your daughter or your daughter in that school?," said parent Wendi Mijal.

"The school should be shut down. If there's any question about student safety, teacher safety nobody should be coming here," parent Nancy Dodge said.