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Some parents still insist Terrace Manor Elementary is making kids sick

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 9:42 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 10:40 AM
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If it’s not mold or mildew, then what is making pupils at Terrace Manor Elementary School sick?

That is what about 40 parents demanded to know Tuesday evening at a meeting with school system staffers and environmental specialists who tested the building for mold over the past few months and have deemed the school safe.

In spite of the evidence, parents are not convinced.

“It’s something in this building making these kids sick and these teachers sick,” said Joyce Monfort, the mother of a fourth-grade pupil. “I do think they’re lying about what’s going on at this school. I smell it, and if it’s not mold, y’all the scientists, y’all the geniuses, tell us what it is.”
After three independent tests confirmed there is no mold danger, school officials will begin surveying pupils, teachers, custodians and parents today to narrow down the cause for reports of headaches, stomachaches and asthma attacks.

Cheryl Jones, the executive director of elementary schools, said it is the next logical step because mold concerns have been ruled out by tests conducted by the East Central Health District, Alternative Con­struction and Environmental So­lu­tions, and AXIS Remedial Sciences.
According to school system data, pupil visits to the nurse’s office at Terrace Manor in the 2011-12 school year are no higher, and in many cases significantly lower, than at other elementary schools.

Parents say the problem has worsened in the past three weeks, and several pupils and teachers have been admitted to the hospital with respiratory problems.

Kimberly Jackson said she will pull her two children from school today until officials work to find what is causing their headaches and breathing problems, which began this month.

“I’ve never had an issue like this,” Jackson said. “This all just began. And everything was answered indirectly tonight. I’m not going to play with my children’s health like this.”
At the two-hour meeting in the Terrace Manor cafeteria, school officials, including Benton Starks, the senior director for facilities maintenance, explained the air sampling and visual inspections and how to identify mold and when it is a danger.
He explained repairs done to Terrace Manor over the past decade that have eliminated leaks, including a roof replacement in 2000 and skylight repairs this summer.

One parent was concerned school workers painted over mold, and another questioned why copies of the lab results have not been passed out to parents.

“There is no cover-up,” Starks said. “The main issue we seem to be dealing with is a trust issue.”

Mark Hartz, the vice president of Alternative Construction and Environmental Solutions, quelled concerns about asbestos exposure in the building by explaining the strict guidelines schools follow to contain the material and Richmond County’s nationally recognized practices for indoor air quality.

As parents pummeled him with fears about staffers inhaling toxic chemicals, he insisted the school has less asbestos than the average home.
“I want to find something, trust me,” Hartz said. “I have beat my head against this school trying to find something.”

Carol Rountree, the executive director for student services, said administrators are convinced the school is safe but will keep working with parents: “My concern for Terrace Manor is the community, the school, its image and the future. It’s always stood as the center of the community.”

Comments (11) Add comment
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OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/27/12 - 09:56 pm
5
4
As suggested previously

A $50 Test kit, purchased by those not willing to accept the professional facts.

It is Time to put up...
If this is really about the kids, and not a cult of Emotional followers, or Community Organizers seeking political pull in a 2014 election.

soldout
1283
Points
soldout 11/28/12 - 07:27 am
4
2
another way

A person trained in naet might could find the source of the problem.

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 11/28/12 - 07:47 am
5
3
Suggestion

I know precisely what the problem is. It is called "mental suggestion." The former principal, staff, teachers and parents kept building the "sickness" issue bigger and bigger that they have created a mass hysteria there.

No amount of testing, no amount of investigation, no amount of reason can overcome mass hysteria.

Another cause of the "respiratory problems" would be the medical term "hypochondria."

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 11/28/12 - 08:17 am
4
4
Question

From the story:

One parent . . . questioned why copies of the lab results have not been passed out to parents.

Because they are incapable of understanding those lab results. As I said, once you have bought in to the mass hysteria, no facts or evidence will satisfy you.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 11/28/12 - 08:44 am
3
5
MIddle Ages

I am inclined to agree that mass hysteria is the most probable cause for this continuing issue. However, since we really can't prove that either, I'll hold off on making a definitive statement. Some questions come to mind:
1. Is there really an odor that most anyone can smell?
2. How many people are really sick and how do these numbers compare to other schools?
3. Can not the East Central Health District request assistance from the Epidemiology Unit at the CDC?

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 11/28/12 - 08:53 am
3
3
Odors

Sadly, our society has demanded that manufacturers of cleaning products put synthetic fragrances into the cleaning products to leave a "fresh" scent or a "floral" scent or some other scent lingering in the air. In any school, there are a plethora of cleaning products (floor cleaners, toilet cleaners, surface cleaners, hand soap, etc.) used daily. They come from different manufacturers, so they have different scents. The mish-mash of scents from cleaning products would definitely create a school full of odors.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 11/28/12 - 09:06 am
0
0
And many of these cleaning, odor removal/cover up,
Unpublished

chemicals can have the same symptoms described. Ask any asthmatic about perfume odors. Ammonia cleaning products. Individuals who do not have breathing problems have no sympathy for those who struggle to get air into their lungs. But what is new. It is not "my problem". Warnings about mixing ammonia products with other chemicals goes unnoticed. Bleach is not an issue. Ask Graniteville. "It didn't cause me a problem".

rebellious
21840
Points
rebellious 11/28/12 - 01:51 pm
2
3
Never

let facts get in the way of an opinion. Just because you believe something doesn't make it so. Pull your kids out, but quit forcing the school system to spend money on 3 separate testings just because they don't prove what you choose to believe.

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 11/28/12 - 02:03 pm
3
3
Hospitalizations

Tracey McManus wrote:

Parents say the problem has worsened in the past three weeks, and several pupils and teachers have been admitted to the hospital with respiratory problems.

Until those parents and teachers give copies of the hospital bills to Tracey McManus and she publishes the facts in this paper, I do not believe that several pupils and teachers from Terrace Manor have been admitted to the hospital in the past three weeks.

Wasn't it about three weeks ago when former principal Mr. Giddens threw his tantrum down at the BOE trustees meeting? That makes my case for mass hysteria and hypochondria even stronger!

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 11/28/12 - 04:04 pm
2
3
Legit concerns...only to be
Unpublished

Legit concerns...only to be met with condesending attitudes...and you wonder why the principal flipped out...then rode out.

If the school was on the other side of town...

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/28/12 - 07:41 pm
0
0
I see a number of Thumbs down for my post

I guess for these EXTREMELY CONCERNED Parents,
it is easier to move a mouse, than to either do something.

$50.00 - With over 400 kids that is $0.13 a kid.
Even less, if the "Extremely Concerned" staff helped.

I'll willing to bet the group is hard pressed to "truly" feel endangered enough to kick in a few dollars to protect their own health.

Little Lamb
48966
Points
Little Lamb 11/29/12 - 08:06 am
0
0
Illegit

Henry, with three different testing agencies declaring the air quality is acceptable, the "concerns" of these staff members and parents are no longer legitimate. The rantings and ravings of the staff and parents are now demonstrated to be irrational.

joytotheworld
59
Points
joytotheworld 11/29/12 - 10:06 am
0
0
All schools are "sick" right now.

All schools are "sick" right now with flu running rampant. This school is probably having the same issues as other schools.

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