FLORISSANT, Mo. – Congresswoman Cori Bush has introduced legislation calling for the cleanup of Jana Elementary and the testing of all schools in the Hazelwood School District for radioactive waste.
Similar legislation was filed by U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, who plans on asking for unanimous passage of his bill on Wednesday.
The news comes just as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a report calling Jana Elementary safe.
The USACE findings have been at odds with a private firm’s determination that harmful levels of radioactive waste were found. Ashley Bernaugh is president of the Jana Elementary PTA. She said testing by the USACE does not meet the highest standards for safety.
“Their mission has never been health-focused,” Bernaugh said.
At this point, the Hazelwood School District does not plan to reopen Jana. Students have been sent to other schools in the district. Some parents said their children have been heartbroken over the transition.
“She cried when she found out through one of her friends on the bus that they’re not opening the school back up,” said Brenda Earl, the parent of a 9-year-old Jana student. “She’s really hurt.”
Bush and Hawley’s cooperation, in Bernaugh’s opinion, will serve as a signal that immediate action is needed.
“We deserve the best level of cleanup and the most safety,” Bernaugh said. “Our kids do not deserve to be exposed to radioactive waste.”
Saint Louis University’s College for Public Health and Social Justice will host a technical forum to explain the science behind the testing at Jana Elementary on Wednesday, April 26, from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m.
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