In today’s “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me” news, a Malibu, California mom was worried about possible chemicals in the caulking sealant put around the windows. After three teachers reported getting thyroid cancer, the parent became concerned. The teachers blamed “sick building syndrome” which is often caused by unhealthy work environments and poor ventilation.
The schools near Zuma Beach are from the 1960s when “caulk was formulated with large amounts of polychlorinated biphenyl, a plastic-like putty that later was recognized as a significant cancer threat.” The district told parents that they did their own inspection and did find that the caulking had “small amounts of PCBs.”
Parent Jennifer deNicola, along with other parents, launched their own personal investigation. They entered Malibu High School and adjacent Juan Cabrillo Elementary School and took samples of the caulking around the windows. DeNicola then took the caulking to be inspected and found that the PCB levels were significantly more than the school lead on.
The school district wasn’t happy and called the sheriff’s office. Sgt. Matthew Dunn confirmed to the Malibu Patch that the department is indeed conducting a felony investigation into the incident to decide if there can be charges of trespassing and vandalism to the school. They will submit the results of the investigation to the District Attorney’s Office who will decide whether or not deNicola and others will be formally charged.
At least two school board members are furious about the ordeal including the only member from Malibu, Craig Foster. He claims that the damage to the school was actually less than what the school did when they did their own tests.
DeNicola says the charges are just more examples of “bullying, harassment and false charges” from the district. There are so far three lawsuits from parents and deNicola says that the intimidation is nothing more than a courtroom ploy against parent advocates.
The fact that these parents couldn’t trust their school district to do a proper investigation and the chance that there was a cover-up by the district is shocking and dangerous. Clearly, teachers are getting cancer. Hopefully, children won’t get sick or something can be done to ensure safety in school, but intimidation isn’t productive. The DA should be investigating the district, not parents who are just trying to make sure their kids’ schools are safe.
Feature image via video capture