Parents of students at a Massachusetts elementary school say their children and faculty are at risk after asbestos and mold were recently found in the ceiling.
Maynard Public Schools announced Friday it would temporarily close a wing of Green Meadow Elementary School for the remainder of the school year so that a licensed environmental contractor can completely remove old asbestos building materials. The asbestos was caused by a roof leak that damaged ceiling tiles in the oldest wing of the school, officials said.
NBC10 Boston's Natasha Verma spoke exclusively with some parents whose young children are experiencing breathing problems.
"They're unrelenting except for when he's not at school," said parent Ann Bundy as she described the mysterious allergy-like symptoms her 6-year-old son Declan has experienced. "He would always be rubbing his eyes. When I pick him up the whites of his eyes would be pink and blotches on his cheeks."
Shortly after Bundy's issues, more parents at the school started reporting breathing problems and pneumonia in their children.
"There is something in the air at Green Meadow to make my children sick," said parent Kerri Nekervis.
The school investigated the air quality in December. A report found high levels of mold in the eastern side of the building. Almost half of the staff that experienced asthma-like symptoms worked in the kindergarten wing.
"Am I supposed to just keep my kid home and not send her to school? I want her to get a good education but I want her to breathe clean air," said another parent who did not provide her name.
Since there are no federal regulations for what levels of mold are safe, Green Meadow called the findings "acceptable and non-toxic."
Shortly after the report was released, the roof over the pre-K and kindergarten classes began to leak, and that’s when the school found the serious health concern.
"There's asbestos flying around in the air and that alone is toxic," said another parent.
Originally, officials planned to close the wing over February vacation. But, after receiving feedback from parents and the community, the district decided to close the wing immediately.
The work will begin over February break and continue into the summer, a statement from school officials said.
"No teacher or student should be in that building until we have answers," an unnamed parent said.