Letter: Are the Schools Safe?

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Letter to the Editor

There is nothing that we would not do to protect our children. We can all relate to that thought. So when faced with the challenging decision of whether we would send our sons back to Juan Cabrillo and Malibu Middle School this year, we were very cautious. In the end, we decided that yes, they will be safe in the schools.

It was not an easy decision, but it was a thoughtful, educated and “gut check” decision that only a parent can make and we don’t have other choices—private school or home school are not options. And let me say emphatically, we don’t fault, nor do we criticize, any parent that chooses otherwise. It’s an individual, personal decision.

Why do we feel this way? We have done exhaustive research into impacts of toxins and what the risk is at our schools. We have talked to the EPA, local and state agencies.

There is no simple answer. Toxins (PCBs) surround us and we expect our regulators and school district to do everything they can to protect our teachers, staff and children against exposure to toxins. The key word being “exposure.” 

We asked ourselves what are the risks that our children will be exposed to toxins that might harm them. We cannot know for sure, but we feel very comfortable from the scientific data (air, wipe and soil testing) that has been collected to date, that the potential risk is extremely low – lower, in many cases, than the federal standards that the EPA has set for all schools. 

Would we like it to be zero—absolutely, yes. Will it ever be zero? Not until we rebuild our schools. 

We have heard the positions on both sides of this issue and respect the concern and passion to protect our children. As parents, however, we must look beyond the rhetoric and fear and make that “gut check” decision. I can tell you that for my wife and me, we are comfortable with our decision.

Seth Jacobson