Cleveland parents unaware schools were testing for lead

Posted at 9:22 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-21 21:22:14-05

Hundreds of parents spent the weekend worrying and wondering if their sons and daughters were exposed to high levels of lead.

The news was made public last week that several Cleveland Public Schools have high levels of lead in various water sources.

Some parents of students at Wilbur Wright Elementary School didn’t even know their school was having the water tested for levels of lead. The first they heard was Friday when the results finally came in.

“No, they never sent me a note, they never gave me a call,” said Gabrielle Crawford, the parent of a nine-year-old at Wilbur Wright.

Crawford learned Wilbur Wright had unsafe levels of lead when we told her.

“I’ll have to take him to his doctor because I had no idea,” she said.

“We did a very extensive outreach to parents. They were contacted by phone; they were contacted by letter,” said Patrick Zohn, the Chief Operating Officer for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

According to Zohn, since June, when testing began, parents were kept aware every step of the way. Now, the communication continues, with school officials asking that every parent of students at schools that showed high levels of lead, be tested for exposure.

“The resources that are available to have your child tested, you should take advantage of that,” said Zohn.

Parents we spoke with were terrified at the idea that their son or daughter may have been exposed to lead at school. With lifelong implications, high levels of lead in the body can lead to learning disabilities and developmental delays.

“She’s only in second grade, but she’s been here four years already… I’m going to have her tested,” said Danielle Price whose daughter is enrolled at Wilbur Wright.

Free lead exposure testing is available through your local board of health.