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Malibu Students Moved Out Of Classrooms Suspected Of Being Toxic

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Days after teachers and parents confronted the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District over health concerns at Malibu High School, officials have moved classes from the affected buildings and developed an action plan to address the problems.

Students and teachers were moved out of Building E and the Arts and Music buildings and into bungalows at nearby Juan Cabrillo Elementary School according to Malibu Patch. Additionally, in an email from SMMUSD superintendent Sandra Lyon obtained by Malibu Patch an action plan to get environmental tests and a way to communicate results with parent was underway.

"We will continue to gather environmental data as recommended by our environmental consultants and county and state environmental experts," said the email. "All samples will be collected and processed in accordance with national standards. The findings of these evaluations will be made available for review by staff and parents."

Three teachers have been recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and three other teachers are being treated for thyroid problems. Students have been suffering migraines, teachers have had asthma problems and skin rashes.

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While the health issues are pretty dire for any parent to have to deal with, another point of contention have been the lack of transparency.

"There was a lack of communication and a fear created in the community, and for that we apologize," Lyons said in a standing-room only meeting with parents at the Malibu High School auditorium on Tuesday. "We did have a plan to communicate with you, but that did not happen fast enough, and for that I apologize."

"They are talking about transparency, but they did not go and publicly contact the parents," said Tristan Peterson, a ninth grader at Malibu High told Neon Tommy. "They were hiding information from us and they should've told us what was going on, but they didn't and I feel offended by that."

The complete action plan obtained by Malibu Patch:

Preliminarily, our Action Plan is to: 1. Create an Inclusive Process

Establish a task force with key stakeholders who will be involved throughout the process

2. Seek To Gather Facts: Gathering Environmental Data

We will continue to gather environmental data as recommended by our environmental consultants and county and state environmental experts. All samples will be collected and processed in accordance with national standards. The findings of these evaluations will be made available for review by staff and parents.

3. MHS Staff to Inform Parents

Administrators will prepare and send a parent message on classroom relocations and ensure that home schooling options are organized and ready to implement, where necessary.

4. Gather Medical and Health Resources/Address Students

A. Medical Expertise and Advice

The District will meet with, and seek advice from, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) with regard to testing analysis that considers health implications. Key considerations: epidemiological expertise.

B. Vet Credentials/Ensure Impeccable Data

We will locate and vet environmental experts to provide debriefing/education to staff, students, and parents on environmental study results and implications.

C. MHS Staff to Address Students

Staff will organize and provide key messages for students that seek to allay concerns, and engage them in the process of actively observing and participating in democracy.


5. Share Timeline/Action Plan

Arrange meeting schedule; post to website and share with MHS school community.


6. Gather Health Information

Work with the LACDPH to develop staff and student (voluntary) health survey.


Key Areas of Concern for Staff and Parents


Each of these points, and much more, will be included in the discussions with our experts.


  • Testing soil, water and air quality throughout the campus

  • Including an epidemiological expert on the medical panel

  • Extending the voluntary health survey to students, in addition to staff

  • Communicating with our children, to help allay concerns

  • Monitoring, strictly, both employee and student privacy
This summarizes the meetings and our next steps. We are resolved to keep you informed of the process and the meeting dates, where your voices are welcome.