Children bear brunt of asbestos exposure in school crisis

South Carolina parents send their children to school with the expectation that they will be taught in a safe and secure environment. Virtually no one expects that their child will suddenly fall ill because of the very building they are being sent to learn in. Unfortunately, for some parents and students, asbestos exposure from schools is a terrifying reality. An out-of-state school district claims that it is attempting to rectify the presence of dangerous toxic materials in its schools, but is so far not making much progress. Many of the schools were built before 1970 and are now laden with asbestos, lead and mold, which is having a profound impact on schoolchildren.

One family is suffering the consequences firsthand. A first-grade student’s behavior rapidly deteriorated and he struggled with easy math problems he had previously completed without issue. He was soon diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but that was not enough to explain the sudden change in his behavior. When his teacher spotted him placing a paint chip that had fallen from the ceiling into his mouth, they had their answers. Lead poisoning so severe that the amount in his blood was nine times higher than levels that experts acknowledge causes permanent brain damage.

At another elementary school, students and teachers repeatedly complained of devastating conditions, including burst pipes that saturated the children’s backpacks and rodents in the bathrooms. Things only worsened when a maintenance crew was brought in to rectify issues with mold and peeling paint — asbestos. The maintenance crew caused asbestos fibers to infiltrate the air, exposing children and school staff to what were described as “alarming levels” of asbestos.

Asbestos exposure is devastating and often leads to serious and long-term health consequences. Most people need extensive medical treatment to continue living as normal of a life as possible, but this can be both financially draining and emotionally exhaustive. For South Carolina victims, successfully pursued civil suits against the responsible party can help achieve compensation for these types of damages, which are essential to recovery.

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