Fogarty Memorial Elementary issued health violation for elevated lead levels
NORTH SCITUATE, R.I. (WLNE) – In an email sent out to parents Monday evening, the Fogarty Memorial Elementary School revealed high levels of lead had been found in the school’s drinking water between January 1st and June 30th of 2021.
A report dated June 15, 2021, by Northeast Water Solutions showed four rooms in the school had elevated lead levels ranging from 4.3 – 52.2 PBB (parts per billion). According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, the acceptable lead level is 15 PBB.
“It was very alarming,” said Kassandra Donovan, parent of a child who currently attends the elementary school. “My first call was to his doctor to make sure his lead levels were fine.”
Despite the results having been reported nearly a year ago, parents were not notified of the elevated levels until Monday, May 23, 2022.
That letter telling parents: “We were required to report these results within 30 days of receiving the results from the laboratory and we failed to do so.”
The Rhode Island Department of Health confirmed the school received a violation for the failure to report within 24 hours as required. Representatives from the school also attended a compliance meeting with the Dept. of Health before notifying parents.
“As a parent sending your child to school, you already have so many worries in the back of your head. Like are they going to get hurt at recess? Could this happen, could that happen?” said Donovan. “Because there can be serious effects from lead poisoning, I don’t think that it should just be brushed off. Somebody needs to take accountability for it — they should have done like a Town Hall meeting or something for all the parents.”
A second parent, Erica Rodi, echoed similar frustration. “This is totally unacceptable. I want to know why I we are knowing now. They are taking no responsibility for this at all. This is just some generic letter and it is totally unacceptable.”
In a statement sent to ABC 6 News, Superintendent Patricia Dubois said the school “does not believe any of its 427 students and staff were ever at risk,” as the testing was performed at the end of the 2021 school year and corrected by the time doors opened for students in the fall.