Carpet causes controversy at Woodland school – Daily Democrat
A new group of Woodland parents and community members are campaigning for greener locations in the school district, starting with the replacement of potentially toxic carpets at the Beamer Elementary School.
Members of the Woodland Coalition for Green Schools are concerned that carpeted floors in four classrooms near Beamer are causing health problems for their children.
Coalition member and UC Davis professor Liza Grandia said the carpets were not installed properly, resulting in months of “degassing”.
“Usually the carpet is degassed, maybe in a warehouse,” said Grandia, professor of cultural anthropology. “You roll it out, let the vapors out so that the new carpet smell is put somewhere else. But that was rolled straight from the factory into the classroom, and if you roll it straight into the classroom, it’ll get through the walls and everything. “
According to Grandia, the projector classrooms in question are rooms 15, 22, 24 and 25.
Grandia became familiar with the carpet industry and procedures after experiencing problems in her previous job. In 2007 Grandia remembered extreme tiredness, feeling of space and difficulty breathing when a new carpet was laid in her office. Now, a decade later, the UCD professor sees the same problems with her 7-year-old daughter.
After Grandia raised concerns about her daughter’s classroom in the district in September, she said the ventilation and “fanning” were increased, but then learned of more classrooms with the same issues.
It is unclear whether district action was taken in the other three rooms. According to parents, the district has not publicly disclosed potentially toxic carpets.
For these parents, many were unsure why their children got sick and reported persistent health problems. Coalition member Deborah Bautista Zavala said her 8-year-old daughter had shown symptoms similar to Grandia’s child, including a 103-degree fever. Symptoms started in September and were still occurring.
“My daughter felt sick, she had a fever and stomach cramps,” said Bautista Zavala, explaining the protracted symptoms of her child. “And she’s only eight.”
During the group’s first meeting, parents reiterated their children’s health concerns to Superintendent Tom Pritchard, Assistant Superintendent Lewis Wiley Jr., and Trustees Tico Zendejas and Karen Bayne.
One mother believed her daughter had allergies just so doctors could discredit these claims.
“We’ll get a notification if there’s a lice outbreak, but that? Nothing. That makes me emotional ”, said Cristina Brambila with tears in her eyes and showed pictures of her daughter with red, irritated eyes. “During those weeks I thought it was allergies and that is not acceptable. She comes home with a headache and now rashes and there was no explanation. I’ve put things together and it’s these carpets. “
Both parties circled around a table in the district office for over an hour and came to a solution.
By January 30, Pritchard agreed to have carpet removed from at least one of the classrooms. Grandia donated enough marmoleum – a kind of tile – to replace two classrooms she will give to the district.
Pritchard also plans to speak to facility management to plan renovations for the other three rooms. Although a vote is required for district spending greater than $ 15,000, Pritchard found that Grandia’s efforts lowered his initial thought of the cost of carpet removal.
The main hurdle now revolves around processes required to maintain the classroom. According to Prichard, some work can only be done by certain people, which explains that he is not allowed to vacuum his own office as it falls under “classified work”.
Parents and parishioners at the meeting asked him to analyze the cost of having volunteers help with the removal and installation.
“We have to work together, not against each other,” added Zendejas, “and I’m looking forward to it.”
Contact Jenice Tupolo at 530-406-6239.