Senator Tartaglione

Philadelphia, PA – January 17, 2020 – State Senator Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) issued the following statement regarding the School District of Philadelphia’s response to asbestos contamination at Alexander McClure Elementary School and at Francis Hopkinson Elementary School:

“I am extremely frustrated and deeply concerned that the School District of Philadelphia was forced to close Alexander McClure Elementary School for a second time today after new environmental testing revealed that the district failed to properly contain hazardous airborne asbestos in the building. The district spent more than three weeks on this emergency project before declaring McClure safe to reopen just two days ago.”

“I am equally disappointed that the district has also detected hazardous asbestos inside Francis Hopkinson Elementary School. Yet – in this case – it has chosen to keep the building open for regularly scheduled classes and activities. It is my understanding that the district notified students’ parents in a letter, but it did not promptly share its new knowledge of this threat with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.”

“These two cases, within the context of the citywide toxic schools crisis, raise serious questions about the district’s ability or will to systematically identify and promptly remediate materials that threaten the health of students, faculty, and staff. They also demonstrate a troubling lack of consistent and effective communication by the district with its many stakeholders including students and their families, teachers, staff, and the communities served by the schools.”

“In light of these two cases, and the unresolved complaints of environmental hazards at many other public schools, I call upon the district to complete comprehensive and fully transparent environmental inspections immediately at every public school throughout Philadelphia.”

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