Parents seek answers on air quality in Vicksburg school

VICKSBURG, Mich. — Parents at Vicksburg schools are worried about sending their kids to a school they believe is causing health problems.

School officials met with parents Monday night to answer questions ahead of the start of the school year at Sunset Lake Elementary School, where teachers and students say they’re suffering from similar medical issues including headaches and nosebleeds.

About 50 parents came to the meeting in hopes of getting answers, but left knowing the whole situation is a waiting game with tests and more evaluations. The district hired an environmental group to check the building’s air quality, and had tests come back saying there were no significant health hazards.

“I mean, I can stand here today and tell the community we have not found anything in that building that is linked to illness,” superintendent Keevin O’Neill said during Monday’s meeting. “And stand firm that this fall your children will be in a healthy environment.”

Some of the parents in attendance had a hard time accepting that explanations. Nicole Kissinger made a petition asking the school to dig deeper into the air quality concerns. The petition has already received 400 signatures.

Kissinger said she isn’t sure about sending her children to school in a couple weeks.

“You know, I was hoping to get a little more clarity with answers tonight at the board meeting. It seems like a lot of it is just a wait game at this point and I don’t have time to wait,” she said. “So as of tonight, I have to discuss it with my husband, and we have to make the right decision for our family, so we are kind of on the fence between the two. “

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will come to the school in the fall to look into the concerns.

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