An Illinois middle school has finally been reopened after a series of issues raised questions about the safety of the building. The school, in Hinsdale, had been closed for several weeks because of startling discoveries, including the presence of water damage, mold and asbestos. Asbestos exposure is particularly dangerous for students and faculty members, as the toxic substance can lead to a form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma.
School officials say that students are settling back in to their regular routine, though administrators are still working to address facility problems. An ongoing investigation into the school’s safety is currently being conducted, and remediation efforts continue. School officials say they have to balance facility repairs with the need to continue classes, though safety is definitely their first priority. Students had been using a split schedule with another nearby school until their own building was deemed safe for reentry.
The school has been plagued with problems since early January, when a pipe leak was discovered in a music room. Extreme weather is blamed for damage on three floors of the school. Later in January, as students planned to return to school, additional water pipes burst, ostensibly because of the cold. Air tests conducted at that time showed that the air was safe to breathe. However, additional problems throughout the month of January caused the air quality inside the facility to come into question. Upon testing, though, investigators concluded that there were not any asbestos fibers in the air, and the facility was approved to resume classes.
Children and faculty in the buildings deserve to be protected from asbestos exposure, which can have serious health consequences. Students or workers who suffer illness from asbestos exposure may be entitled to financial compensation for their medical expenses. An Illinois personal injury attorney may be able to provide additional information about asbestos litigation.
Source: Hinsdale-ClarendonHillsPatch, “Hinsdale Middle School Reopens (PHOTOS); Timeline Follows Mold, Asbestos Issues” Amie Schaenzer, Feb. 08, 2014