Letter: Unsafe Environment

Letter to the Editor

It has been over two years since PCBs were discovered at Malibu High and Juan Cabrillo Elementary schools.

When PCBs were first detected, I assumed that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) would remove them from schools. I trusted that they would do the right thing to protect my child and all the children who attend.

I was wrong. Instead of solving the problem, the school district tried to ignore it and hide what is actually happening. The school district is not trying to protect our children. Instead, the school district has spent over seven million dollars of taxpayer money on lawyers, consultants and PR to avoid proper testing and removal of PCBs. That money should have been used for remediation and renovation of the schools. The school district should be focusing on remediating the PCBs rather than pressing charges against a mother who was trying to protect her child since her child’s school was not.

Parents offered to pay for the cost of portable classrooms during the cleanup. There is unused money allocated to remodel the Malibu Middle and High schools from a measure Malibu voters passed several years ago. What is the hold up for renovating the school? No one is fighting about the lights in the parking lots.

I do not want my child to go to school there, but she wants to go to her school. She does not want to believe that her school would do something callous and uncaring to put her in harm’s way. I have a fifth grader and need to decide where I am going to send her.

If the SMMUSD had removed the PCBs, Malibu families would be donating to Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation.

The effects of PCB exposure show up later in life. I know this because my father died at age 56 from PCB exposure at his workplace. Many of his coworkers died of cancer. He did not want to believe that the company he worked with for over 20 years would lie about their working conditions. My child does not want to believe that her school district would put her in an unsafe learning environment, but they are.

Kim Cunningham