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For a small religious school in Ohio, the removal of the asbestos from their new building was simply too expensive to consider. Asbestos is a cancer-causing agent, after all, and its removal and abatement is costly to the extreme. So they did the removal the best way they could imagine: They asked kids to do it.
Oh, yes. Really. They asked kids as young as 13 to risk their lives and their lungs just to save a buck.
A neighbor used a camera to shoot video of the students and others taking debris out of the building. In the video, dust is dispersed everywhere when the asbestos is thrown away. The neighbor said:
"The entire site was contaminated with asbestos and the people who were doing it were all children. The kids were loaded with it."
As a parent, this idea just chills my blood. Here were these kids trying to do a good thing -- to volunteer and help the school -- and these ADULTS were putting them in harm's way. It's unconscionable.
The school, a Sterling Education school, is associated with the Exclusive Brethren, a Christian church that basically discourages all sorts of pop culture, from music to TV to movies and sports.
It's unclear whether the parents knew about the asbestos or not or whether this volunteer project required permission slips. The school is basically not talking. But as a parent, I would be horrified. Asbestos is dangerous. And now there is no way of knowing the damage this project has done without chest x-rays and time.
It's just a nightmare. These kids could have lifelong breathing issues and more just because their school was too cheap to hire professionals.
Here's a thought: If you can't afford to hire asbestos abatement professionals, maybe you can't afford the new building? Or maybe you need to fundraise? Do some bake sales and ask congregants to pony up some cash to save kids' lungs. This is simply unacceptable and the entire organization ought to be carefully scrutinized. After all, if they are willing to do this to kids in the open, what would they do behind closed doors?
How angry would you be as a parent?