Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Parents worry about lead paint in schools

[IMAGE] Tanya Lovett and other parents worry about their children, who are being moved from Heberle School because of lead.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
Tanya Lovett learned on April 18 that her children were being transferred out of Heberle Elementary after lead paint was detected in the West End school.

Lovett said her 6-year-old son, Rayshawn, a kindergartner at the 74-year-old school, has been more hyperactive in recent months. She plans to have him tested for lead poisoning.

"It's hard for us to teach him," she says. "He can't sit still, and this might be the problem."

Rayshawn and his fourth-grade sister, Kenya Boone, 9, are two of more than 500 students who were transferred for the remainder of the school year after a Heberle student's blood was found to have elevated levels of lead. Health department officials did not find hazardous lead at the child's home, but found significant lead hazards in paint chips and dust on wooden windows at Heberle.

Twenty-three Cincinnati public school buildings, including Heberle, are being assessed for lead paint hazards. The assessments are expected to continue through mid-May.
The federal government has banned lead-based paint because of its health dangers.

Students will finish the year at Porter Elementary, where they started school April 24.

Lovett blames the school district for not properly painting and maintaining the buildings. "I think they don't care about inner-city schools," she says.

Jennifer Mrozowski

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