By John Mooney

Newark teachers union releases 2014 district memo alerting schools to possible lead contamination in water

Newark schools made headlines twice this week in ways district leaders probably wished they hadn’t.

First came Gov. Chris Christie’s political provocations on his visit to the Alexander Street facility, now being used for one of the city’s surging charter schools.

It was there that Christie badgered Mayor Ras Baraka to stop speaking out against the growth of charter schools, saying such talk could imperil Newark’s getting back local control of its public schools.

But while that dialogue was playing out, district officials had already been alerted to elevated lead levels in 30 schools, levels high enough that the state Department of Environmental Protection and now the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration were brought in.


The Newark Teachers Union released a 2014 memo from the district that called on schools to flush their drinking and cooking water daily basis to minimize lead contamination. It also instructed them to tell students to let water fountains run 30 seconds before drinking.

“Who allowed children to drink this water and for how long?” said John Abeigon, president of the NTU. “This is a serious question that must be answered by federal authorities.

“Lead levels are tested regularly and results shared with administrators who are trained to read and respond to the results. What happened here? Who received the results over the last several years and what did they do with them?”


Similar Posts