NJ Board of Ed: 120 rare brain tumors not a ‘health crisis’ (Opinion)
Here’s a hypothetical: What sickness running rampant through a school would cause you to keep your child home? For instance, if you thought a lot of kids were getting the flu or a stomach virus or the measles, would you ever consider keeping your kid home?
I think I probably would.
Now, how about rare brain tumors?
Even if the tumors aren’t actively spreading around the school, you knew that a lot of people who graduated from or worked at the school were mysteriously diagnosed with rare brain tumors. And the number of diagnoses kept going up until it reached 120. And even though you couldn’t conclusively say that the rare brain tumors had any relationship to the school at all, wouldn’t you be tempted to leave your kid home?
Well, that’s how the parents at Colonia High school in Woodbridge feel.
According to an article by New Jersey 101.5's Rick Rickman, twenty people from 16 families signed a letter sent to Mayor John McCormac and Woodbridge schools Superintendent Joseph Massimino asking for a remote option for learning until more investigation is done into the frightening diagnoses of rare brain tumors running rampant amongst graduates and former staff of the school.
But instead of keeping their kids home, they’re asking for the option of remote learning. Sounds logical, right? After all, we already know that it’s possible to have an entire school learn remotely. We did it during the pandemic with almost no notice at all.
So why would the Board of Education of the state of New Jersey say no to remote learning? Well, according to the article, when presented with the plea by parents, the Superintendent of Colonia said it was not in his hands.
He reportedly did forward the request for remote learning to the New Jersey Board of Education, but he was told that "remote instruction is only available in the event of an active health crisis or emergency."
"At this time, the Woodbridge Township Board of Health has informed me that there is no substantiated public health concern related to Colonia High School," Massimino said, explaining that radiation test results were not yet available.
While it’s true that they are still conducting investigations to establish whether there is a link between the brain tumors and the school and we’re not really sure if there is an emergency yet, they’re very well may be.
Yet to stave off COVID-19, we kept kids learning remotely all over the state WAY after what they called a health crisis or an emergency was over. In fact, the crisis part of the pandemic was over after a couple of months. After that we were just playing it safe. So why wouldn’t we play safe in this case?
Do you really think Colonia High School kids should take their chances and wait until that link is substantiated before the Board allows remote learning? Or should they play it safe and allow those kids whose parents request it to learn remotely until we have this all figured out?
This is unconscionable. We just finished two years of hearing that we would do anything for the health and safety of our kids during COVID. Was that just lip service?
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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