Malibu High School classes to be moved over toxic health concerns

MALIBU, Calif.

For the older students, it's business as usual, but for the middle schoolers on the campus, some of their classes are being relocated.

This comes after a teacher sent the district a letter saying three teachers at the school, who all worked in the same area of campus, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The letter said other teachers are experiencing thyroid problems as well, along with skin diseases and migraines.

"While the alleged health concerns have absolutely no proven connection to our campus, in an abundance of caution and to allay all fears, we are temporarily relocating staff and students," said Sandra Lyon, the superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

The district maintains the campus is safe but has hired an environmental testing company to investigate concerns about contamination.

"There is a concern right now that exposure or any contaminate is something that can create some health issue, so we want them to explain to us, what does that mean? What does exposure look like? Is there any risk?" said Lyon.

Parents attended a closed door meeting with Lyon at Malibu High on Tuesday.

"I don't think we got a lot of answers. I'm really concerned about the potential problems here and I'm concerned about sending my son," said parent Diane Sittig.

In 2010, the district removed 1,000 cubic yards of dirt after it tested positive for carcinogens, lead and pesticides. When asked if parents and teachers were informed at the time, the superintendent says the district went through the standard protocol. But many parents say they didn't know.

"I think the most concerning thing is the lack of information and the lack of communication in that we did have contaminated soil, and you feel like it's kind of been hidden from you," said parent Dana Zappala.

The district says students and teachers will be relocated to another part of campus or to another school nearby. But parents say they still want answers.

"I'm glad that they're going to relocate the kids out of that building that has the most toxic impact, whether it's mold or whatever is in there, so that's good. I didn't really get an answer about how quickly they're going to come back with the test results," said parent Stella Allen.

At least some results are expected to come back and be publicly released by Friday.

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