DOWNEY (CBS) — Health officials tested about 100 students for tuberculosis at Downey High School Wednesday after several students had tested positive months before. Some parents questioned why the tests were not conducted sooner.

“We had to go in the theater and they gave us shots to see if we were infected with TB,” a sophomore said.

Violet Gonzalez said that she received a call on Friday alerting her that her daughters may have come into contact with three students, who tested positive.

“She had actually just told me that she was having chest pains and we were going to set an appointment anyways for that. Then when I looked up the tuberculosis side effects or signs of it, that was one of the things and I was really scared,” Gonzalez told us.

Principal Tom Houts said health department officials showed up at the school two weeks ago telling him that they wanted to test students in one math class and the girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams.

Two students, who were both in the class and on the team had tested positive last October and November, according to officials.

But why the delay?

“That’s a good question. I asked the nurse from the health department that and she told me it was something about genotyping and stuff that I do not know about, so I really can’t answer that question,” Houts said.

He went on to say that he was frustrated about what he called a lack of communication on the part of the public health department.

Gonzalez was not aware that months had passed since the students had tested positive.

“That’s really upsetting, especially knowing that my daughter was in contact with this person,” Gonzalez said.

Houts said since news of the two cases had spread, another parent notified him that their child tested positive last month.

“They waited this long to deal with a possible very bad situation. [I’m] not aware of any of it,” said parent Dene Molina-Cabrera.

Health officials were expected to be back at the school Friday with the results from the tests.

A spokesperson with the department would not comment on the delay of follow up the tests.

Comments (9)
  1. Mrs. Gonzales says:

    My daughter is a Senior at Downey High and im very frustrated that I was not notified by the school. My daughter had to send me a text message turning 1st period to let me know that they were testing students for TB, and although she was not one of the selected students to be tested, I took her out of school to have her tested anyway. As a parent I feel for the students that have tested postitive but why has it taken those parents several months to contact the school when this is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly!? The school is quick to tell us our kids are absent but something as urgent as this, and they say nothing.

  2. Ms GC says:

    This is inresponsable of the school staff and principal not to notify parents about the testing and findings of the 2 students coming down with TB . The staff has known this since November and have not taken any precauctions they have sat on this informaton

  3. ??? says:

    TB can be spread by coughing and sneezing and NOT covering your mouth. The droplets from an infected person released in a cough and sneeze are then breathed in by someone else and then they can get it. Also, if someone infected coughs or sneezes on food and then someone else eats it, they can also be infected. This is another reason to COVER YOUR MOUTH when you cough & sneeze and I ALWAYS see people in public that dont.

  4. ANGRY PARENT!!! says:

    This is Ridiculous that we parents were not informed of the situation. It is our right to know and to decide to have our kids tested. A simple cough or chest pain wouldve probably been overlooked and potentially caused the life of a child. It is sad to see that our kids are only DOLLAR SIGNS to them. Today over 250 students were absent from Downey high, I have also kept my middle school child at home, and will remain at home until I see a plan of action, and a formal address by School District Officials, and Health Department Personnel.

  5. Claudia Chavez says:

    I agree with keeping our children at home ! If it wasn’t that I was watching the news at night i would have not found out. The school is constantly calling me about my children being absent and WHAT they did not have time to send flyers or letters home to inform us about the TB outbreak I have taken my children to their own doctor to make sure my children are not infected! Mind you my children’s doctor Downey High School should be CLOSED for the safety of the children. I spoke to staff and they urge me to meet with them at school. I have told the attendance office that I am interested in home schooling my children ,all they say please come have a meeting with us it’s not that serious! WHAT not serious are you kidding me? I don’t see their children attending Downey High School!To ALL concern parents we should start a strike to close Downey High School until this matter is solved!!!!!!!!!!!! All they want is the MONEY they do not care of our children’s well being!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Claudia Chavez says:

    Hello Everyone I was at the Downey High School today and spoke to the Supervisor from the Health Department. It seems that they are working a lot harder in regards to solving this massive problem. I am happy to know that my three children tested negative and I will be allowing them to return to school on Monday. The Supervisor advise me that there plan of action should work and this problem should be solved within a week.

  7. Boss says:

    4 years ago my husband and I were on an elevator in a medical office building in
    San Francisco. Two doctors were discussing the fact that TB was epidemic in elementary schools in Orange County and the schools and health department were not notifying parents. As I said it was an out loud discussion on an elevator but we were blown away. apparently there are so many illegal immigrants in the LA school’s that have not been screened that TB is once again becoming a public health issue. As for Claudia Chavez’s comments, I am happy to hear your children have tested negative but if you think this problem will be solved in a week you are being naive. The prisons are emptying because of overcrowding and there is drug resistant TB coming to the general population from them. Lean all you can about how to protect yourself and your children.

  8. Claudia Chavez says:

    Ok Boss,, my concern was my children being infected TB. After having my children out for two weeks and having them tested. And finally spoken to the Supervisor from the Health department I felt comfortable to having my children return to school. Call me naive it’s ok I could careless what anyone thinks of my comments. But as long as I feel that my children are safe to return to school is ALL that Matters to me.

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