Class action lawsuit accuses Suffolk County school district of negligence

NORTHPORT, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island middle school that's battled concerns about toxic chemicals on its campus for decades is now facing a class action lawsuit alleging the Northport-East Northport School District failed to do enough to protect its students from contaminants at Northport Middle School.

"We hope that the District will be forced to take responsibility for the hazardous conditions that persisted for years at the middle school and for the wholly preventable injuries the delay in action caused. We want all students whose health was affected to be compensated and for everyone to have access to free medical testing to monitor and detect any conditions they may develop later in life as a result of these pollutants," said Paul J. Napoli, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

The claim filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court on September 3, by Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, accuses the district of negligence for failing to promptly address toxic chemicals such as Chlordane, Mercury, Carbon Monoxide, Benzene and other volatile organic compounds detected on campus and for refusing to allow students who believed they had been sickened by toxins at the school to transfer to another middle school within the district.

The concerns at Northport Middle School and steps taken to address them have been covered in detail by Eyewitness News.

Tara Mackey is a parent and one of the plaintiffs in the case who alleges her daughter began experiencing migraines and was also diagnosed with high levels of carbon monoxide in her blood while attending NMS.

"All that matters to me is my children and I will never have that piece of mind back. I just want to move forward and make sure that hopefully this doesn't happen again and get some sort of peace, closure and protection for all of us," Mackey said indicating she hopes the lawsuit leads to the creation of a medical monitoring program and more stringent oversight by state and local governments of environmental conditions in schools.

Superintendent Robert Banzer acknowledged the lawsuit in a statement and indicated it was under review by district lawyers.

"Over the course of the past few years the District has conducted extensive environmental testing and remediation, most recently conducted by P.W. Grosser Consulting, Inc. in consultation with representatives from the New York State Department of Health, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as well as members of the community and the Northport-East Northport School District. This information is available to the public and can be found on the district's website."

----------
DO YOU NEED A STORY INVESTIGATED? Danielle Leigh and the 7 On Your Side Investigates team at Eyewitness News want to hear from you! Call our confidential tip line 1-877-TIP-NEWS (847-6397) or fill out the form BELOW. You can also contact Danielle Leigh directly:

Email your questions, issues, or story ideas to 7OnYourSideDanielle@abc.com

Facebook: DanielleLeighJournalist

Twitter: @DanielleNLeigh

Instagram: @DanielleLeighNews
Copyright © 2020 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.