“There is no safe level of PCBs. All they do is cause harm. They increase the risk of a great number of diseases, and the one that’s of most significance in a school is that they’re known to reduce cognitive function — learning and memory. And that’s the last thing you want in a school.” David O. Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.
Declaration of renowned PCB Expert Dr. David Carpenter confirming that PCBs at Malibu High School greatly exceed legal limits under the TSCA, and inhalation of PCB vapors constitutes a continuous hazard to teachers and students:
See pdf copy of Dr. David Carpenter’s Declaration:
“PCBs are dangerous chemicals … even low concentrations of PCBs in air constitute an important route of exposure and disease, especially if the exposure is prolonged,” Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-SUNY.
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon has spent over $8 million tax payer dollars to avoid a proper investigation and remediate all of the illegal levels of PCBs.
Malibu High School Teacher’s Plea to the SMMUSD’s Board of Education for PCB-free Classrooms
See Video of Malibu High School Teacher’s Plea to the SMMUSD’s Board of Education:
The SMMUSD 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.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has thereby put the health of their students and teachers at risk.
Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Timeline:
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:
In January 2014, SMMUSD staff 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 from 12 teachers at Malibu High School:
The City of Malibu through 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. Every inch of caulking does not need to be tested to verify there are PCBs. It is reasonable and based on standard building practices is responsible to assume that all like caulking in the same building contains PCBs.
See City of Malibu’s September 23, 2014 Resolution No. 14-58 below:
Despite the October 2013, January 2014 letters to the SMMUSD, and the City of Malibu September 2014 Resolution, the SMMUSD refuses to relocate its students and teachers and administer any further testing, even turning down the offer of Malibu parent and supermodel Cindy Crawford to personally pay for the tests. The EPA, in the Oct, 31st, 2014 approval, made very clear that PCBs over 50ppm cannot be left in place. PCBs are not like lead paint and asbestos; they are not chemically the same nor are they handled by EPA the same way.
The SMMUSD is misleading the public with false statements to try and justify their choice to keep exposing Malibu children to cancerous, toxic PCBs.
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.
This Malibu High School and Malibu Middle School along with Jaun Cabrillo’s campus map highlighting testing results of toxins and presence of illness (thyroid cancer, thyroid disease and nodules) paints a pretty convincing picture of the harm already caused. (The three teachers with thyroid cancer all taught in classrooms with toxic illegal levels of PCB in caulk or with wipe samples considered “PCB Contaminated” under the PCB Regulations. As of today, at least three student alumni have also been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. There are also at least 14 known cases of thyroid disease among teachers, and three cases of melanoma or pre-melanoma (a cancer which is also associated with exposure to PCBs) among teachers and former teachers, as well as other serious health problems.)
DECEMBER 2015 UPDATE ON CURRENT HEALTH ISSUES WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT MALIBU SCHOOLS
There is a statistically significant “relationship” between spending your days at Malibu High School and Thyroid Cancer
if the classroom has no color coding, then the caulking has not been tested.
See the many test results which reveal shockingly high PCB exposure at Malibu High School and Jaun Cabrillo Elementary School:
See Environs most recent test results which reveal that students and teachers are exposed to shockingly high PCB levels:
ON OCTOBER 24, 2015 AMERICA UNITES FOR KIDS RELEASED ADDITIONAL DISCOVERY CONCERNING SUPERINTENDENT SANDRA LYON
In 2013-14, Superintendent Sandra Lyon did not tell Malibu High School teachers and parents that their children were occupying classrooms that the previous teacher just reported having thyroid cancer as well as other previous teachers also having cancer.
On July 3, 2015 America Unites for Kids opined the following: “Princeton School District filed a lawsuit asking Monsanto for $700,000 for cost to remove toxic PCBs in the caulking at their elementary schools. SMMUSD’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon has spent over $6 million to avoid a proper investigation and removal of illegal PCBs. What leader of a business can spend $6 million to fix a $700,000 problem and still have a job? Tax-payers of Santa Monica and Malibu, it’s time to fire Lyon. Email email@example.com and tell them to Let Lyon Loose!”
See link to JD Supra Article:
See Congressman Ted Lieu’s letter To America Unites For Kids reading forwarding the October 2015 PCB Test Results to EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy:
See Summary of the October 2015 PCB test results from Malibu High School:
See news articles concerning the SMMUSD Pressing Vandalism and Trespassing Charges Against the Parent who Proved that the Malibu Schools are Contaminated with Toxic Cancer Causing PCBs:
Two elected members of the SMMUSD have condemned the criminal complaint, as have several staff members, including the school librarian who decried the “administration’s hounding of staff members for statements and the threat of prosecution.” (See attached emails from Board members Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre) (See attached email from School Librarian Suzanne Moscoso)
See School Board Member emails here:
See School Librarian’s email here:
Allegations are dead in the water for school district.
For details, go to:
Read John Ferbas MS., Hyg., Ph.D. July 2014 letter to the EPA and SMMUSD:
John Ferbas MS., Hyg., Ph.D stated the following:
“The fact that Malibu High School and Jaun Carillo Elementary School contain caulking with PCB levels orders of magnitude above even the most conservative PEL estimates is egregious.” -Ferbas
See John Ferbas MS., Hyg., Ph.D. letter to the EPA and SMMUSD:
In fact, 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.
See California Association of School Administrators email to the EPA.
This email was obtained through a freedom of information act request.
See link to email:
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.”
The SMMUSD is spending an outrageous amount of money on lawyers and consultants.
See list of just some of the SMMUSD’s expenditures to date:
All of which has caused America Unites for Kids and PEER to file a citizen’s lawsuit against the SMMUSD.
AMERICA UNITES FOR KIDS & PEER vs. SMMUSD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT for the CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:15-cv-02124-PA-AJW
See link to America Unites for Kids and PEER’s First Amended Complaint against the SMMUSD:
The person or persons responsible for the alleged violations are Sandra Lyon and Jan Maez, officials of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District; Oscar de la Torre, Joe Escarce, Maria Leon-Vazquez, Laurie Liebermann, Ralph Mechur, Nimish Patel, Craig Foster, and Richard Tavildaran-Jesswein, current members of the SMMUSD Board of Education.
Compare PCBs found in Malibu, CA to PCBs found in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The town of Princeton has filed a lawsuit against Monsanto asking them for $700,000 in costs to remove toxic PCBs in the caulking at their elementary schools. In April 2011, high levels of the hazardous chemical were found in window caulking and glazing when the Wachusett Regional School District was preparing to replace some windows in the Thomas Prince School. The school, which serves students from kindergarten to eighth grade, was constructed in 1962. PCBs above appropriate levels in Environmental Protection Agency guidelines were also detected in other areas of the original portion of the school. No elevated levels of PCBs were found in a 1991 addition to the school.
As a result of the contamination, students in Grades 3 and 4 had to be bused to a school in Rutland during the 2011-12 school year while PCB remediation was completed. The school district incurred costs over $700,000. Additional costs are anticipated as the town continues to test and monitor for PCBs at the school.
The SMMUSD continues to stonewall source testing and ignore even the rooms directly next door to contaminated rooms, let alone the rest of the school. Malibu Parents and teachers have asked for portables and SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon has refused to do so; students and staff are occupying toxic classrooms 5 days a week, 7 hours a day.
Compare PCBs found in Malibu, CA to PCBs found in Hartford, CT.
The Hartford, CT school district has taken only two months to identify PCB sources, and begin removal plans, while the SMMUSD has had well over 1 1/2 years to identify PCB sources, and begin their removal plan. However, the SMMUSD has chosen not to do anything about identifying all of the PCB sources and has chosen to leave most PCBs in place.
Hartford, CT has spent only $40,000 to identify PCB sources, while the SMMUSD has spent over $6,000,000 on lawyers and environmental and public relations consultants to “manage in place” the illegal contamination and try to convince the community that the School is safe.
The SMMUSD is now threatening to cut Art and other programs but is willing to spend $775,000 on attorneys (Pillsbury), and $3,225,000 on Consultants (Environ) who have been tasked with creating legal obstacles NOT to identify all of the sources of PCBs.
December 2014, PCBs were found at Clark School in Hartford, CT when installing a fire alarm system. Contractor was required to test for PCBs. (Malibu just had fire alarms installed, why didn’t the SMMUSD test for PCBs?)
Hartford Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez closed Clark school and moved kids and staff to another location because she wasn’t willing to put anyone at risk. Malibu Parents and teachers have asked for portables and SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon has refused to do so; students and staff are occupying toxic classrooms 5 days a week, 7 hours a day.
Highest level of PCBs found in Hartford, CT was 1,940 times the federal limit while some Malibu test results shows PCBs are 11000 times the federal limit.
Hartford, CT School District has demonstrated how effective and fiscally responsible a school district can be when discovering PCBs in schools. Investigation and removal can be completed in a short period of time with little impact on the students and staff.
The SMMUSD continues to stonewall source testing and ignore even the rooms directly next door to contaminated rooms, let alone the rest of the school. Students’ and District staffs health is at risk. If the caulking is the same color, kind and installed at the same time in the same building, then it is probable that all rooms also have PCBs over the legal limit.
Harvard School of Public Health Uses the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District as a Case Study for What NOT To Do When You Find PCBs in Schools
Robert Herrick, senior lecturer on industrial hygiene at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, helped uncover high PCB levels in sealants at a number of schools in Boston; his published research on the topic led to the discovery of more such schools in New York and elsewhere. Said Herrick in a March 27, 2015 TakePart.com article, “If you’ve got buildings full of developing humans who are susceptible to these disruptive chemicals, how can you not be persuaded that you need to reduce that source of exposure?
See TakePart.com article here: http://www.takepart.com/feature/2015/03/27/pcbs-in-schools
For details, go to:
There are many other troubling issues with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District
1. Student v Wendy Wax Gellis & Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:
This lawsuit alleges that the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis are criminally liable for violations of California Penal Code § 11166 and 11172(a) et seq. for filing a knowingly false child abuse report with child services and the police.
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.
See link to News Article here:http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/
The lawsuit alleges that an example of retaliatory action by the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis taken 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 Federal lawsuit go to:
2. Student v Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:
9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 13-55665 &District Court No. 2:12-cv-03059-SVWPJW
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Did Not Act “Reasonably” When It Chose To Conduct An IEP Meeting Without the Parents’ Presence
For details of this other SMMUSD litigation, go to:
*Legal Fees in the amount of $215,000 were approved by the SMMUSD’s Board of Education on June 29, 2015.
See 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:
Student vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD)
Sebastian Dane Sartorius; Jordan Clarke et al
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.
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: Freedom Of Info Act Dec 22-1
See Malibu Parent’s letter to Superintendent Sandra Lyon and Published in the Malibu Times on September 4, 2015:
Malibu Parent’s Letter: Protecting Children
Malibu Parent Stacie Cox’ Public Comment about Superintendent Sandra Lyon:
“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.”
Rodenticide use at Malibu Schools Rouses Call for District Separation
See Malibu Times Article here:
See City of Malibu Brochure Re: Poison Free Malibu:
7. The City of Malibu Unanimously Passes a Resolution to Form an Independent Malibu Unified School District
See link to Resolution here: CC150916_Item-1
8. 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
9. The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Classroom Teachers Association Urges SMMUSD Officials to Consider the Wellbeing of its Children and Staff
Santa Monica Teacher’s Public Comment:
I am a teacher at John Adams middle School. My classroom has been between 86 and 88 degrees every day since school started. I have not been provided with a fan and I’m using two of my own. It is unbearable . I have been suffering from heat exhaustion. My symptoms include nausea, dizziness and an inability to focus. My students are unable to concentrate. This is not a new issue. It is hot for at least 3 months out of every school year since I started working for SMMUSD 15 years ago. This is unacceptable.” 16 September 2015 20:20 See link: http://smdp.com/concerns-classroom-temps-heat/150774
Over $6,500,000 spent so far and still rising!
11. DISTRICT ERROR CAUSES TEACHER WITH THYROID CANCER TO REMAIN IN TOXIC CLASSROOM
Defendant’s Calamity of Errors Validates Plaintiff’s PCB Lawsuit
For details, go to:
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.
12. PROFESSOR MICHAEL CHWE vs. SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate Directed to Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Ordering Compliance with the California Public Records Act
See pdf attachment of Professor Michael Chwe’s Public Records Act lawsuit against the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Was Ordered to Release their Investigation Report Concerning the Sexual Harrasment of its Students by their Teachers
See pdf attachment to the Court of Appeals of the State of California, Second Appellate District’s landmark ruling in Professor Chwe’s lawsuit against the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:
The Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, ruled that “Marken occupies a position of trust and responsibility as a classroom teacher, and the public has a legitimate interest in knowing whether and how the District enforces its sexual harassment policy. . . . the public’s interest in disclosure of this information—the public’s right to know—outweighs Marken’s privacy interest in shielding the information from disclosure.”
13. STUDENT vs. MARK KELLY & THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Re: Disability Discrimination
Plaintiffs allege that Mark Kelly’s conduct in baiting student was so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency,” Mintz, 905 P.2d at 563. Mark Kelly’s knowledge that the plaintiff is peculiarly susceptible to emotional distress by reason of some physical or mental condition rises to both extreme and outrageous conduct.” (“eggshell plaintiff” principle)
Some students may have vulnerabilities which necessitate a greater degree of caution on the part of school districts and their employees. In M.W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union School Dist., supra,
Abuse of Power
14. Other Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education’s Errors in Judgment:
Superintendent Sandra Lyon Receives a Three Year Contract Extension:
Despite all of the above facts, on July 15, 2015 the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education has awarded Superintendent Sandra Lyon with a new three year Contract.
It’s time to fire Superintendent Sandra Lyon
See pdf copy:
See link to Change.org Petition:
Email the Santa Monica Unified School District’s Board of Education:
|Oscar de la Torre
|Dr. Jose Escarce