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Activists with the PTA of John Burroughs Elementary school had a hectic weekend. Last night, the group issued a press release asking parents of the Brookland school to skip the first day of classes on Monday, lest the students end up breathing bad air. The group believed construction crews were still working Sunday night, pushing to get the Northeast building’s summer renovations finished: “A Dumpster filled with trashed furniture and a large piece of machinery still sit on the Newton Street side of the school. The side doors open every so often and men in construction hats appear, hastily carrying in materials or tools. It’s obvious that construction work is still going on even at this late hour…”
The group thought that such recent construction was likely to leave behind “fine dust and toxins.” As a result, the association promised to meet parents “at the door” of Burroughs and urge them to keep their offspring out of school for the next 72 hours or until the EPA or OSHA conducts an indoor air quality test.
PTA president Clarence Cherry says he and member Maria P. Jones did just that. This morning, they stood outside Burroughs and warned parents. “I wanted the parents to be aware they were taking their children into a unsafe environment,” says Cherry. Cherry says he convinced about twenty to take their kids home and not bring them back until Wednesday. He says he’s not sure how many Jones persuaded, since she was standing at another entrance.
The Washington Post reports city officials claim “the school passed air quality tests.” A suspicious Cherry wants to know just who conducted the tests and wants to see the results for himself.