Exposure to asbestos causes a wide range of serious — and sometimes fatal — diseases, including malignant mesothelioma. Though asbestos companies were long aware of the dangers of this widely-available, inexpensive mineral, they continued subjecting workers and consumers to its risks while they reaped enormous profits from its use. Many of those citizens eventually became victims, suffering and dying from asbestos-related illnesses after having worked with contaminated products for years. Now asbestos is causing those same illnesses in a new group of victims: students and teachers who spend their year in school buildings that used asbestos in their construction.
Though it has long been known that asbestos is a problem in America’s schools, the issue has been brought into stark relief in Philadelphia, where a long-time teacher was recently diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and two of the city’s high school buildings have been closed indefinitely as a result of asbestos found in locations that students and teachers frequent. The Philadelphia School District has announced that both the Benjamin Franklin High School and the Science Leadership Academy — which educate nearly 1,000 students — will relocate their students to other structures. Parents and teachers are alarmed at both the disruption and the long-term health effects that the move suggests.
The school’s lack of communication to parents has been called into question, and many parents are particularly concerned for the teacher who was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Though her identity has not been revealed, it is known that she worked in one of the district’s elementary schools for more than ten years as a special educator, and that the building that she worked in was one of dozens that have been identified as an asbestos concern.
Speaking of the closure of the high schools and the asbestos remediation that needs to be done, Philadelphia School District Superintendent William R. Hite, Jr. said, “Moving forward, there will be no return to the Ben Franklin/SLA campus until construction is at a point where it is safe for children to return.”
People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma understand the risks of asbestos better than anyone. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need assistance or legal guidance, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.