NewsPublic Affairs / September 9, 2016

National Group Wants To Address Lead Contamination In Schools

Carrie Gosch Elementary in East Chicago moved to a different building this year because lead was found in the soil under the school. - Nick Janzen/IPBS

Carrie Gosch Elementary in East Chicago moved to a different building this year because lead was found in the soil under the school.

Nick Janzen/IPBS

The National Association of State Boards of Education is looking toward standardizing school response to lead contamination.

After a number of incidents gained national attention in recent years, the NASBE says it can no longer look at lead in schools as isolated incidents.

Currently, there is no set protocol for handling a lead contamination crisis in a school.

The NASBE will raise the topic at the national meeting this Fall. Director Kristen Amundson says the idea has been percolating since the Flint’s lead crisis.

“It was very very quickly supported by board members across the country who said, you know that’s a problem in my state too,” Amundson says.

The Indiana State Board of Education is a member of NASBE.

In northwest Indiana, School City of East Chicago just relocated elementary school students who attended a school next to a lead contamination site. The SBOE loaded that district 3 million dollars to remodel the school’s new location, a former middle school.

Indiana State Board of Education spokesman Brian Murphy says he appreciates the national group looking into the issue. Still, he says the state was able to quickly move East Chicago students and get the district disaster relief funding without using any national protocol.

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