This is an update on a personal story & current challenges with the Portland Public School (PPS) District.
The first image (below) is a letter we received from the schools this week and the second is Tamara’s e-mailed response immediately upon having received this letter.
While this is a personal story component we wanted to share it on the Foundation’s site as we also felt like it served as an example of how a school district would rather try to shift responsibility to a family (erroneously reassigning them to home-schooling status), rather than actually addressing existing lead-hazards in the child’s neighborhood school or finding an appropriate school for the child (photo insert top left is of peeling lead paint at our neighborhood school – photo taken 3/9/2015.)
In this “adventure” this school year (2014/2015) – the school district focus (based on the actual in person conversations we have had with the school district’s attorney, special education staff and facilities team) has been on establishing that they are not technically “liable” for anything, because they are not in fact breaking any law.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment.
Their responses continually suggest that they are chiefly concerned/narrowly focused on with whether or not they are breaking any laws – rather than actually doing what is right and necessary to safeguard the health and welfare of the children who attend these taxpayer-funded public schools.
They have asserted that the burden should be on us (as parents) to definitively prove that it is not safe for a child who was previously poisoned to attend a school with active lead hazards(!)
They have separately challenged what they continually (derisively) refer to as “our” standards for what “we” consider a lead-hazard [asserting that peeling lead paint on the exterior school within reach of children, with confirmed XRF readings of 185,000 ppm is not a hazard in their book – because they are only using HUD standards to determine what is or is not a hazard – and that it is not technically an “inside dust reading representing a hazard created during renovation”, yet also refusing to take comprehensive dust readings that include the (many exterior) child-accessible play and work areas that we found to be very high positive.]
It’s truly a cat-and-mouse game and this is just one more “play” by the school district to avoid the responsibility/expense of creating lead-safe schools for all of the children who attend.
Thanks for reading.
Tamara & Leonard Rubin
Letter received from the Portland Public School district on February 23, 2015:
Tamara’s response to this letter: