A parent of a former Northport Middle School student is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed last week against the school district seeking compensation for students for alleged injuries caused by toxic exposure to contamination at the school.
Tara Mackey, whose daughter was a student at the school in 2017 when a chemical spill was found below a wing of the building, is represented by New York City law firm Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC. The lawsuit seeks compensation for all current and former students of the school. She is one of the parents behind the Facebook page Close Northport Middle School.
updated: The school district said, “We are in receipt of the lawsuit and are currently reviewing it with our attorneys. Over the course of the past few years the District has conducted extensive environmental testing and remediation, most recently conducted by P.W. Grosser Consulting, Inc. in consultation with representatives from the New York State Department of Health, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as well as members of the community and the Northport-East Northport School District. This information is available to the public and can be found on the district’s website.”
It is the latest round in a long-running battle over complaints about fumes, mold, chemicals and diesel fumes at the school that led to the building being shut down in January after lengthy and heated meetings with the school board that also drew a group of parents opposed to the closing until an environmental report was issued. Other parents approved of temporarily closing the school until the study was complete, but then wanted to return to the building before the end of the school year.
In June, an environmental study found that the building was safe to reopen but by then, all schools were shut down by the Covid-19 epidemic. But the report found problems, and recommended the removal of fuel tanks and the use of the school grounds as a bus depot. It also found elevated levels of benzene in septic tanks and mercury in cesspools.
Families are planning to celebrate the return to the building Wednesday when the district reopens for the new school year.
“The District knew or should have known about the presence of the Contaminants
through inspections and environmental testing conducted at the School at various times over the
years of its operation,” the lawsuit reads.
“Over the years, the District also received numerous complaints from teachers, staff
and students regarding noxious odors, nausea, headaches, dizziness, asthma attacks, skin, eye and respiratory irritation and other adverse health symptoms that they suffered while working at and/or attending the School.”
In addition to damages, the suit seeks the establishment of a monitoring program to ensure safety.
“I am proud to be the voice of all the children and families whose lives were negatively impacted” by the conditions at the school, Mackey wrote on Facebook.
The suit was filed in State Supreme Court.
“It is unconscionable that a student was exposed to these contaminants at a school. We strongly encourage families to consider contacting us to determine their legal options,” says Of Counsel Paul Napoli. “It is important that they receive medical attention as soon as possible.”Summons and Verified Complaint - filed