School District Releases Asbestos Documents

Monday, January 12th 2009, 7:27 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A recent asbestos scare at a metro school had many parents concerned for their children's safety.

The school district has now released all its files on asbestos in its schools.

The district said the majority of its schools contain asbestos, but they're inspected regularly and they are confident no children are in danger.

The school district wants the public to see the dozens of files documenting asbestos inspections in its schools.

"We want to be as transparent as possible with the public and also our parents," Tierney Cook with Oklahoma City Public Schools Media Relations said. "Let them know what is the situation with asbestos within Oklahoma City Public Schools."

Last week the district had to move students out of Adams Elementary for two days after construction crews doing renovations knocked loose asbestos at the school during Christmas break. Parents were a bit on edge.

"I've been concerned about the asbestos in this building for a long time," a concerned parent said.

Asbestos has been used in schools as insulation and in floors. It's only a danger when the fibers become airborne and are inhaled. It can lead to cancer.

The district said it has 87 schools and charter schools occupied by students, 82 of them have some form of asbestos.

The school district files shows the schools are being inspected on a regular basis at least every six months, as required by state and federal law, to ensure the asbestos does not pose a health risk.

"We want the parents to know that we are aware of this and we take extra care and we're following the guidelines given to us by the department of labor to make sure our students still stay safe," Cook said.

The district has five schools built under the MAPS program; those are Grant, John Marshall, MLK, Douglass, and Thelma Parks. All were built without asbestos.