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Leader Editorial: School's safety is nothing to put off

The opinion of the Burbank Leader.

March 01, 2014
  • The roof, installed on Jordan Middle School in August, is emitting a strong odor that has the office staff working elsewhere on the campus in Burbank on Friday, October 11, 2013.
The roof, installed on Jordan Middle School in August,… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

Since a new roof was installed at David Starr Jordan Middle School last summer, fumes have intermittently been reported coming from the roof over the main office. School officials are still looking into the matter, but seem to be downplaying the lingering odors — their views bolstered by a report that showed 93 chemicals used in the roofing materials fell within or well below accepted levels for toxicity.

But, as we reported this week, one teacher had to relocate her class last fall after her tongue felt numb and she experienced burning sensations in her lungs and throat. That’s reason enough for some concern, but there’s more: a total of 18 employees have filed 18 workers’ compensation claims due to exposure to the fumes. This is costly to all of us.

We are heartened to know that Burbank Unified officials are now working with industrial hygienists to identify steps to resolve the problem, but we’d urge that work be done sooner rather than later. The problem was noticed at least six months ago. It is high time that the issue be resolved once and for all, for the safety of the school’s employees and the middle school’s students.

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