Parents question safety of elementary school

JERSEY SHORE – After an incident last week at Jersey Shore Elementary School, which caused members of the the school’s staff skin and respiration irritation, the public called upon the Jersey Shore Area School Board to take better action to ensure safety for students and staff at Monday’s meeting.

Richard Emery, superintendent, explained that while workers were removing roofing material, some of the material entered into the building and caused the irritation to staff.

Dan Cicala, of Fidevia, went on to say that the work was not scheduled and shouldn’t have been done at that time. Cicala apologized for the actions and said that he has had several meetings with contractors and workers on proper procedure, in order to ensure the safety of everyone.

“The situation happened. There’s no excuse for it,” he said.

He later added: “It’s just wrong. I’m sorry.”

But Cicala’s apologies could not ease the concern of many of the public as they felt proper precaution was being taken. Loren Koch, board member, withdrew her child from the school, she said.

“This place is packed because they’re worried about their children,” Koch told Cicala on the crowd that had formed at Monday’s meeting. The meeting was standing room only.

Laura Miller, a concerned parent from Bastress Township, described the environment at the elementary school as a “nightmare.”

Others added that they haven’t sent their child back to the school since they were notified of the incident, fearing for their health.

Cecilia Klimitchev, of the borough, said someone needs to be held accountable for the incident.

“If safety is the first concern of all you people, why was (the work) not pulled and school not shut down?” she asked the board.

Some reported that it took over an hour for the work to be stopped.

Matthew Branca, of the borough, also raised concern over the fact that when he toured the building some workers had mentioned that they had not received photo identification cards, which the district reported was required to be on work site.

“It is unacceptable,” he said.

Emery said that Dr. Kenneth Dady, principal, had removed workers without the identification card from the school property. He said no workers should be there without the card.

Many of the public wanted answers and action.

“We hear a lot of concerns tonight and aren’t hearing any answers. We need answers,” Miller said.

Cicala said Fidevia has collected six separate air and dust samples to be tested, which he expects to come back clean.

But as Miller said, the public has lost its trust in the district and construction management.

“The trust between this is broken. These are our kids,” she said.

“Someone needs to be held accountable or nothing’s going to change,” said Adrianne Stahl, of Limestone Township.