A Lawsuit alleges that a proposed KIPP charter school will be built “on a hazardous waste site” posing the risk of “significant environmental harms”.
- Tracy Cook
Common sense would dictate that a site chosen for a school building would be free of any hazards to children. This would be especially true in neighborhoods in areas like Cudahy and the rest of Southeast Los Angeles where there is a “history of environmental injustice”. This is the same area that is dealing with the long-term effects of the arsenic and lead released by the now-closed Exide Battery Plant. One of the schools in this area, Park Avenue Elementary, was built on “an old city dump site that contained contaminated soil with pockets of the toxic sludge”. These are the same neighborhoods where last year Delta Airlines dumped jet fuel directly on children as they played in their schoolyard.
As an organization that claims that they “will always prioritize safety as [their] #1 concern” and “knows the responsibility [they] have to ensure the environment and community are safe”, one would assume that KIPP Charter Schools is especially sensitive to the environmental injustice suffered by generations of residents in Southeast Los Angeles. Knowing the history of the area, this chain of privately operated schools would definitely not purchase a plot of land that “has been used for approximately 90 years for manufacturing metal” and storing the resulting “hazardous materials”. Its concern would be especially heightened if soil samples at the site showed “levels of arsenic…as high as 14.5 milligrams per kilogram,” which is “200 times the amount of arsenic that is identified as safe for human health by the state of California for school or residential areas.” The fact that the “site is contaminated with toxic gases” which “can cause cancer, cognitive and motor impairments, liver damage, kidney damage, and impair one’s immune system, development, reproductive system, and fertility” would have definitely killed any purchase agreement.