Time to Speak Up and Stand Up for Our Children

Time to Speak Up and Stand Up for Our Children


The citizens of Malibu and Malibu High parents have the right to ask: Where were our City Council members when toxins were first detected in the soil at MHS in 2009 and when remediation occurred in 2011?

Finding contamination on school grounds is not an unusual occurrence. A town leadership that stays silent on the subject is.

In 2007, when the Paramus (NJ) School District concealed news about pesticides in the soil at West Brook Middle School for four months, the Bergen Record broke the story, the town’s mayor shut down the school for remediation, and the school board put the superintendent on extended leave, which led to her resignation. (Worth noting: In Paramus, information was withheld for four months and 40 cubic yards of soil were removed. In Malibu, we’re talking about more than 1,000 cubic yards and four years.)

In 2010, Lexington (MA) Public Schools temporarily closed Estabrook Elementary School when elevated levels of PCBs were detected in classroom air samples. In 2012 the city of Lexington filed a class-action suit against Monsanto on behalf of the Lexington school district and all school districts in the state with PCB problems in their schools.

And in 2011, when PCBs were found in the athletic field soil and later in the groundwater during a school renovation project at Greenwich High in Greenwich, Connecticut, town and school officials worked together to create a plan for remediation. Their strategy includes canceling summer school and restricting staff access to campus while the work is being done over two successive summers.

Isn’t the difficult work of advocating for citizens at such times exactly what a City Council is for? And if information wasn’t being withheld from the public, as some council members claim, why weren’t they on the front lines advocating for our children? And why weren’t our local papers reporting on the issue? MHS parents and new candidates for office are the only ones asking hard questions of our school and local officials. Sadly, five months after the contamination at MHS became national news, our school district staff, our school board members, and certain members of the City Council appear to be more interested in preserving their reputations and their own interests than in protecting the health and welfare of local children and addressing citizens’ concerns.


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