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Jana Elementary parent afraid her kids’ illnesses are due to nuclear waste at school; teachers moving out of classrooms

<i>KMOV</i><br/>A Jana Elementary school parent is afraid her kids' illnesses are due to nuclear waste at the school.
A Jana Elementary school parent is afraid her kids' illnesses are due to nuclear waste at the school.

By Melanie Johnson

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    FLORISSANT, Missouri (KMOV) — Teachers at Jana Elementary were seen cleaning out their classrooms, packing their things and leaving the school on Thursday. The school is now closed due to radioactive waste concerns.

“I’m looking for other options as we speak,” says parent Erica Hart. “I got sick to my stomach when I heard the news.”

Erica Hart said she plans to pull her two kids out of the school and away from the Hazelwood School District after unsafe levels of nuclear chemicals were found inside and outside. An independent study concluded, the chemicals were in classrooms, on the playground and the levels were 20 times higher than normal.

Hart’s second and fourth-grade children are students at Jana Elementary. She is now taking them to see a doctor because she is afraid for their health.

“One has chronic asthma and the other experiences focal motor seizures,” Hart said. Now they are exposed to radiation. How do I know that their illnesses are not linked to being exposed to radiation in school?

The Hazelwood School District announced Tuesday during a school board meeting that because of the unsafe chemicals, all grades with the exception of Pre-K will switch to virtual learning until Thanksgiving.

“The school board should have at least had a medical examiner there to let us know what we need to do as far as the health for our students,” she says.

A letter was sent to parents a day later, asking families to pick up Chromebooks in preparation for remote instruction.

“Transparency is what we needed in this situation, and we have not received it at all,” Hart said. “During Covid internet service was horrible due to everyone being online and virtual.”

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to retest the school campus for radioactive chemicals. The waste stems from World War II nuclear weapons that were dumped near Coldwater Creek in the 1940s.

“The Army Corps is supposed to do the cleanup and so now it’s up to us to make sure that is happening,” Congresswoman Cori Bush said.

The Congresswoman said this is environmental and injustice and she’s putting Jana Elementary and Coldwater Creek at the top of the list for federal lawmakers.

“We want to see action from the government officials that we vote into office,” Hart said.

Virtual learning for Jana Elementary students begins Monday, October 24.

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