At the request of Mayor Peak, Resolution No. 14-58 requests that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) conduct further source testing for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at all Malibu school campuses and in all rooms.
In October 2013, staff and parents raised concerns about PCB exposure in Malibu High School and Middle School (MHS) and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School (JCS) after three teachers reported thyroid cancer diagnoses.
See letter to Sandra Lyon and the SMMUSD’s Board of Education dated Oct. 7, 2013 from AMPS, Malibu High PTSA, The Shark Fund, The Boys & Girls Club of Malibu, members of the Malibu High School Site Council, & Malibu Special Education Demanding that the SMMUSD take Steps to Keep Our Children and Teachers Safe:
See letter to Sandra Lyon from 12 teachers at Malibu High School:
SMMUSD hired Environ, an environmental engineering firm, to prepare testing and cleaning plans to be implemented at-the campuses in order to remediate PCB exposure. The district enlisted experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Toxic Substances and Control (DTSC) and the. County Health Department to ensure compliance with all Federal and State regulations.
This Resolution concerns illegal levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found inside classrooms and campus soils. During the 2011 summer school session, the district removed from the Middle School Quad 48 truckloads of soil which, unbeknownst to parents and teachers, was contaminated with PCBs and pesticides. In the following two years, four teachers, including one who has since left the school, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. There are at least 10 known cases of thyroid disease among teachers and at least four students struggling with autoimmune health issues. In addition, alumni students have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Current Malibu City Mayor, Laura Rosenthal, admitted she had knowledge of toxins found on the Malibu High School Campus and did nothing to inform the teachers or parents with children at the school. Rosenthal admitted she had knowledge of the toxins well before that information was released to the public. The admission came during a candidate’s forum held Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Pt. Dume Mobile Home Park Clubhouse located in Malibu, California.
Rosenthal was an active member- representative for the City of Malibu on the BB district wide committee as well as serving on the Site Committee for Malibu schools. Rosenthal confirmed she was serving on those committees during the time toxins were discovered and admitted that she did have and then withheld knowledge of the findings, but that she thought the “Teacher’s Union would let the teachers know” and the “Administration would inform the parents” ultimately stating, she was busy gearing up for her campaign and “You can’t do everything.” (Source: Preserve Malibu Coalition and
Posted March 3, 2014
Despite the City of Malibu passing this Resolution, the SMMUSD refuses to administer any further testing, even turning down the offer of Malibu parent and supermodel Cindy Crawford to personally pay for the tests.
On Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, the SMMUSD ordered a “special” cleaning of the classrooms prior to Environ testing the dust and air. They asked teachers to remove all items from all surfaces so they can send a “special” crew to remove dust from surfaces; the same surfaces that Environ will be wipe testing hours later.
This renders PCB results meaningless. The goal of wipe and air testing is to see what the students and staff have been exposed to for the past 4 months. However, if they clean it hours before testing then any evidence of PCB exposure is removed. Click Here to see email
This was done to guarantee the results are below EPA guidelines. Sadly, these test results will be nothing more than a PR move by the district to reassure parents and waste taxpayer dollars.
MALIBU TEACHERS REFUSE RETURN TO TOXIC CLASSROOMS
No Confidence in Scope or Effectiveness of District’s Clean-Up Plans
Also amazingly, the United States Environmental Protection Agency. (the “EPA”) appears to be letting the Defendants get away with this brazen violation of the law. Congress expressly provided for citizen’s suits to enforce TSCA where as here, the EPA is not enforcing the law.
Moreover, EPA guidance may have been compromised by the following actions.
The SMMUSD’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon sought the assistance of the California Association of School Administrators to lobby the EPA to not enforce PCB source testing and remediation in Malibu schools.
Thereafter, on August 1, 2014 Laura Preston, legislative advocate for the California Association of School Administrators, sent an email to Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Region 9 Administrator, in which she revealed that her organization had been working with Superintendent Sandra Lyon for several months on the PCB issue in Malibu schools. She expressed that her office had also met with the offices of all of our state and federal elected officials, including the California Governor’s office about this issue.
This email suggested that Blumenfeld’s actions could give the appearance of “preferential treatment “ to Malibu. Preston said that: “…any preferential treatment to the community of Malibu will give the appearance that an affluent largely white community will receive preferential treatment. This can easily become a civil rights issue for all of us.” (see email below)
The SMMUSD has spent over $6.5 million dollars on lawyers and consultants rather than $100 per caulk test. Just what is the school district spending so much money to hide from the public?
Testing approximately 150 classrooms and offices throughout the 3 campuses (including bathrooms and storage rooms) would only cost $60,000. Then everyone would know where the sources of PCBs are and be in a position to discuss the best way to remediate, remove or rebuild.
Until this source testing is done, the Malibu community cannot ever be assured that their children are not being unnecessarily exposed to toxic PCBs. Testing the sources could trigger further TSCA violations, and that is the reason the SMMUSD is avoiding further testing.
Apparently 14 out of 60 teachers have some form of Thyroid disease and/or cancer and there are 4 retired teachers that also had Thyroid disease and/or cancer. Many Alumni have come forward to disclose that they too have some form of auto-immune disease and/or cancer in there 20s. All of this needs to now be introduced in Court to show that the SMMUSD and the EPA are simply attempting to put a lid on all of these liabilities. The SMMUSD will now spend years defending their position by simply using the EPA as cover, all while these children and teachers continue to be exposed to these known carcinogens.
There are many other troubling issues with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District.
1. Student v Wendy Wax Gellis & SMMUSD:
Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by Filing False Claims of Child Abuse with the Department of Children & Family Services
The family alleges that an example of retaliatory action taken by Wendy Wax Gellis and the SMMUSD against this family includes knowingly and maliciously filing a false child rape and domestic violence allegation with the local law enforcement and with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in retaliation for parent’s exercise of their federally protected right to bring claims against the SMMUSD before the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
The family alleges that on December 18, 2013, SMMUSD employee named Wendy Wax Gellis made a knowingly false referral to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and to local law enforcement that parent raped her own son. The allegations were determined by all investigating agencies to be unfounded.
For details of this pending lawsuit, go to:
2. Student v SMMUSD:
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 13-55665 & District Court No. 2:12-cv-03059-SVWPJW
For details of this SMMUSD litigation, go to:
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Did Not Act “Reasonably” When It Chose To Conduct An IEP Meeting Without the Parents’ Presence
*Legal Fees in the amount of $215,000 were approved by the SMMUSD’s Board of Education on June 29, 2015.
See link to the June 29, 2015 Board of Education Minutes: Re: Attorney’s Fee Settlement in the amount of $215,000
3. Other Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Errors in Judgment:
“SANTA MONICA TEACHER WAS RIGHT, SUPERINTENDENT WAS VERY, VERY WRONG”
4. Severe Bullying at Malibu High School and Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Ratification of the Conduct:
For details of this pending litigation, go to:
LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT COMPLAINT
SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:
LIST THE FULL NAME AND JOB TITLE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS AT SMMUSD (AND/OR MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL) RESPONSIBLE AMENDING/REVERSING CANCELING AND OR OTHERWISE MODIFYING THE DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSION OF DEFENDANT SEBASTIAN SARTORIUS ISSUED IN OR AROUND NOVEMBER 2012.
RESPONSE TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:
SANDRA LYON, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.
5. PCBS REMOVED FROM SANTA MONICA SCHOOLS BUT LEFT IN MALIBU SCHOOLS
Superintendent Sandra Lyon cares more about protecting landfills than protecting children and teachers.
AMERICA UNITES FOR KIDS & PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY vs.
SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT for the CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (Western Division – Los Angeles)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:15-cv-02124-PA-AJW
See link to America Unites for Kids & PEER’s Complaint against the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
6. Superintendent Sandra Lyon ordered the use of Fumitoxins and Strychnine on Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at Malibu High School, Juan Cabrillo and Webster Elementary schools despite hundreds of letters from parents in protest.
Her reckless actions put kids and wildlife at risk. The Fumitoxin Tablet warning label says that re-occupancy cannot occur for a minimum of 72 hours, but based on the weather in Malibu, more likely 5 days. Sandra Lyon told parents that in 48 hours kids could return to the fields.
See America Unites For Kids Freedom of Information Act request dated Aug 22, 2015:
Malibu Parent Stacie Cox’s Letter to Sandra Lyon: Protecting Children
“An empathetic and confident leader would make all her decisions based on how to best protect children, and not make decisions based on legally what she can get away with. You seem to act on false information, archaic ideals, and without a conscience. Your behavior is unconscionable and you should be ashamed of yourself.”
7. THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS FAILED ITS AFRICAN AMERICAN, HISPANIC, DISABLED & ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL, SANTA MONICA HIGH SCHOOL & JOHN MUIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
8. NOVEMBER 2015 UPDATE ON CURRENT HEALTH ISSUES WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT MALIBU SCHOOLS
6 teachers with thyroid cancer;
3 alumni (28-year-old)with thyroid cancer;
1 current student with thyroid disease, possible thyroid cancer
25 teachers with thyroid disease (including 14 of 30 Malibu Middle School teachers);
9 alumni in their 20s with thyroid disease;
1 alumni (22-year-old) with environmentally induced melanoma;
2 current teachers with environmentally induced melanoma;
1 teacher hospitalized from an environmentally-induced rash;
1 current student with an environmentally-induced rash lasting several months
innumerable cases of headaches; persistent rashes; daily migraines; infertility issues; hair loss; immune issues; respiratory issues; and diabetes.
For more than a year, significant independent sampling has taken place on the campus complex, showing extremely high and illegal levels of PCBs remain even in areas supposedly remediated by the district.
The resulting certified lab results have been filed with EPA, state officials and the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) personally transmitted the most recent independent test results to EPA’s Gina McCarthy.
See Congressman Ted Lieu’s letter To America Unites For Kids regarding the October 2015 PCB Test Results to EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy:
See PCB test results here:
There is a statistically significant “relationship” between spending your days at Malibu High School and Thyroid Cancer
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District appears to be more interested in attempting to limit their exposure to liability from a toxic tort complaint, rather than to just simply comply with the TSCA, and protect its students and teachers from this continuing harm.
It’s time to fire Superintendent Sandra Lyon
Email the Santa Monica Unified School District’s Board of Education: firstname.lastname@example.org