Ohio schools are obligated to provide information, training and equipment to keep faculty, students and visitors to school properties as safe as possible at all times. In a neighboring state, a former school superintendent and other officials are facing felony charges regarding issues pertaining to asbestos and lead. A grand jury has stated that the former superintendent and two others placed students, faculty and other staff members at great risk.
The former superintendent and two other people have been formally charged with felony child endangerment. The defendants are accused of knowing that numerous schools contained high levels of asbestos, as well as high levels of lead in drinking water. Rather than taking immediate steps to secure the locations and inform staff and community members (especially families whose children attend the schools in question) of the problems, they allegedly kept the schools open and hid the information.
An environmental engineer told reporters that the defendants were made aware of the lead problems as early as 2016. The same engineer has stated that the problem still existed when he returned to the schools in 2018 and 2019. A school principal in one of the Pennsylvania schools in question said she repeatedly emailed the (then) superintendent about ceilings that had collapsed and plaster and dust that was clinging to students’ desks and books. The principal said her superior wanted her to discuss the matter by phone, but she refused because she wanted the emails to serve as documentation that she had reported the problems.
More than 100 schools in 30 districts were affected by the lead and asbestos problems. There is no safe amount of exposure to asbestos, and there is no telling how many students, faculty members and others may contract illnesses due to being exposed for years in these schools. Many people in Ohio are facing similar issues. Those considering filing legal claims may seek support before heading to court by requesting a meeting with an experienced asbestos litigation attorney.