Letter to the Portland Public School District This Morning Re: Lead in PPS Schools’ Water

Photos from earlier this month at Llewellyn Elementary.

Note: I wrote this post in response to my child coming home distraught – in tears, actually – over the cavalier attitudes/misplaced and absolute confidence of nearly all of the adults who whom he has interacted with at school regarding this issue. While my tone may seem inappropriate and my anger may seem misplaced to some, for me the time for civility is long passed on this issue. I first contacted the school district about lead in the drinking fountains (at Lewellyn Elementary School and Jackson Middle School) in 2009. It is now almost 2019, and I fear that to deliver this message without my natural anger, without my historically justified “emotional charge” – will get nowhere, as it has gotten nowhere over the past ten years.

Additionally, this morning it was the SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST who called us with this “concern” — basically implying that our son AVI was being CRAZY for being upset about this, when in fact Avi is simply better-informed than most of the adults in the school, and (yet again) no one is listening to him (as they did not listen to him throughout the 2015/2016 school year when he advised everyone to not drink from the fountains — before the lies and obstructionist behavior of the district administrators were common knowledge). That story is, however, for another post.

Subject: Please immediately send us the test results that show the water in Sellwood Middle School is safe to drink.

Sent to: Karl Newsome, Marylyn John
Cc: Carolyn Fisher, Daniel Morell-Hart, Joseph Galati, Julie Esparanza Brown
Karl & Marilyn,
I understand that you turned the fountains on at Sellwood Middle School again today, making it possible for children to drink from them (instead of the bottled water that has been provided over the past two years.)
Please (immediately) send me the test results that show the water in Sellwood Middle School is safe to drink.
We would like to see the specific lab test results for the water in Sellwood Middle School that shows the Parts Per Billion (ppb) readings in the water that the School District has used to determine that the water in the fountains is safe to drink (the results that have caused the fountains to be turned back on.)
As I was noted as being the whistleblower in the legal action that resulted in the firing of Carole Smith and Andy Fridley over this matter I expect you will handle this appropriately and forward it to the person who can get me these test results immediately.
Avi – my 13 year old son – is VERY distraught today (and came home early) over the fact that the fountains are back on, without these test results being shared prominently and clearly with the public (and without the results being shared with our family specifically – as we have children with disabilities as a result of being lead poisoned and have a child, Avi, who goes to a school where the fountains have been turned back on.)
My specific concern is that the Environmental Defense Fund recently published a report reconfirming what I already knew from my work, that even new faucets labeled as “lead free” under the new federal legislation around this matter leach unsafe levels of lead. Additionally it is my understanding that the Portland Public School district has only made an effort to test the water using a threshold for determining the lead-safety of the water of 15 parts per billion. [Said another way, PPS is considering the water safe for children to drink if the test results come in below 15 ppb.]
15 ppb is not an appropriate threshold to determine water safety for children.
Per the link below, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is that for water in schools (specifically) to be considered safe for children to drink (at a level that is actually protective of children’s health) it should be below ONE (1) ppb Lead.
I request and expect someone in the school district will forward me these test results today, Friday, November 9, 2018.
Delay in responding to this e-mail and delay in getting the test results (which you – the school district – I am sure must have on hand and accessible in a form that you can e-mail to me immediately given you already chose to turn the fountains back on) will result in legal action, in that in my lead-poisoned child’s school you have made a choice that may continue to expose him to unsafe levels of lead in the water and you have provided me with no evidence to the contrary.
I look forward to a response and the water test report today before the end of the school day.
Tamara E. Rubin

One Response to Letter to the Portland Public School District This Morning Re: Lead in PPS Schools’ Water

  1. alwayspoppies November 9, 2018 at 12:10 pm #

    way to go Tamara! keep us posted!

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