Parents Relieved LI School Near Cesspool Closing After Years Of Illness Complaints

Sophia Hall
January 20, 2020 - 4:55 pm
Cesspool water

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Some parents and teachers are relieved after the superintendent decided to close Northport Middle School after students have become sick.

Parents have been voicing their concerns about smells coming from inside school for years.

It turns out there’s a cesspool just outside one of the classrooms containing elevated levels of mercury. Septic systems also had potentially dangerous chemicals.

Bill Blainy is the parent of an 11 and 12 year old. He says when his daughter entered Northport Middle School in September, she started to become ill, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reorted.

"And I said, 'Um, listen. I know you're having the headaches and the stomach aches in school. How many times have you had this? And she said to me, 'every single day.'"

Blainy then heard other stories of people over the years becoming sick, very sick -- some with cancer, Hall reported. 

"My only legacy on this planet are my kids and it's their health and safety. I spent every bit of their lives trying to keep them safe. And once I heard this I was like, 'I am now a failure. This school administration has taken the most important thing away from me," Blainy said.

The 660 students will be moved to other schools in the district on Thursday, Hall reported. It depends on the student's grades as to which school they will go to.

"It's an awful thing to have to go through," Blainy said. "And to have to feel frustrated that the people that are supposed to be your advocates are not doing their job ... they are slow walking and treating it from a beaurocratic perspective when they should be treating it from a humane perspective."

“I called for the Department of Environmental Conservation to come in and conduct a full investigation,” state Sen. James Gaughran told WCBS 880. “There already is a review by the state Department of Health, and they’ve also brought in the Suffolk County Department of Health.”

Gaughran, whose two children went to the school, said it’s going to be a disruption for students, teachers and parents.

“What we have to make sure of is that the students themselves do not lose out on any of their education for the rest of the year,” he said.

Gaughran is pushing for extra money in the state budget to help with the relocation process.

The school superindant declined Hall's request for an interview.