HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — At a meeting between parents and school officials Wednesday evening, the subject of asbestos made some parents furious when authorities stopped answering questions.
Eleven schools in the Huntington Beach district are potentially at risk. Asbestos was found in at least three of them.
KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reported Wednesday from one of the schools, where exposed asbestos was found.
Resistant to heat and fire, asbestos was widely used in construction for decades. By the late 1980s, it all but stopped being used, and by 2003 was banned in most places entirely. Health experts say that prolonged inhalation of asbestos can cause serious and even fatal illnesses, including lung cancer.
Asbestos removal can be costly, but Wednesday evening, parents were more concerned about their children’s health and where they would be going to school while many of the campuses were shut, some indefinitely.
“We want answers; we want answers,” some parents chanted.
When the Ocean View School District board announced it was through answering questions, some parents exploded.
“You guys are putting a child in danger,” said one parent.
“What am I supposed to do? You tell me, as a parent. What am i supposed to do with my children? They stayed home today. Their school has not been tested. What do I do as a parent?” asked another.
“They have been in these classrooms for years. The kids have all been exposed,” said a concerned parent.
As parents continued to voice their concerns and shout questions, the board walked out.
“You told me you were gonna give me answers tonight,” said one angry father.
Officials on Wednesday announced that exposed asbestos was found in Lakeview Elementary.
The school will be closed five to 10 weeks so that a thorough cleanup can be conducted.
Butler reported that Hope View will remain closed through Monday; one asbestos fiber was found in a classroom there. Oak View is expected to reopen next week.
Experts will test all 11 schools in various stages of construction.
Darla Kernell said she refuses to let her kids attend any school until the problem is cleared up. She said since the construction, each of her kids has complained about headaches and have had nosebleeds and rashes.
“At first, I thought it’s a couple parents overreacting,” Kernell said, “and I know it’s everywhere, in homes and things like that, but the more I hear, and the more I’m seeing, the more I see the board covering things up, that is what scares me the most.”