Sunday, January 19, 2014

BLACK MOLD, and Two Other Types, Confirmed in HIGH CONCENTRATIONS on Bulk Surfaces Tested at Hinsdale Middle School!

The decision has been made to keep Hinsdale Middle School closed for at least 2 additional instructional days, and perhaps even more.  Now parents need to understand exactly why that is necessary, what was actually found within the walls at Hinsdale Middle School and what this means for the health and safety of the students, teachers and staff.

To look for answers to these questions, we carefully reviewed the information Dr. Schuster has provided parents and made available on the D181 website. Dr. Schuster made the following representation regarding the mold test results in the email she sent D181 parents late Saturday night:

"On January 16, surface samples were taken of possible mold growth observed by SERVPRO staff, who were on site to perform deep cleaning and removal of drywall.  The results from these samples showed low concentration of mold spores on the drywall and surface samples tested."

In addition to this email, Dr. Schuster directed parents' attention to the web page the Administration has created on the D181 website that provides a detailed timeline of events and links to the actual test results.  The timeline stated:

"Saturday, January 18. Written results from the mold test conducted on January 16 were received; results from the samples showed low concentrations of mold spores on the drywall and surface samples tested." (Click to open new web page.)

Dr. Schuster omitted mention of all the facts.

Nowhere in her email or on the new web page does she disclose that the test results also showed high concentrations of 3 different mold types on drywall "bulk" samples taken. Most importantly, Dr. Schuster does not tell parents, that "bulk" samples taken showed high concentrations of BLACK MOLD on two of the HMS drywalls that were tested.

But don't believe us.  Read the report yourselves.

The following is the link to the Report on the Mold Test Results:

Read the Report and the Bulk Sample Data provided in Exhibit B. The two are not consistent with what Dr. Schuster represents.

The Report says:

  • The following "surfaces" were swabbed: desk top in Room 205a, book cabinet in Room 205a, diffuser of the ceiling HVAC supply duct in Room 205a, above ceiling HVAC return duct in Room 205a, a lab top in Room 216, diffuser of ceiling HVAC supply duct in Room 216, HVAC return duct in Room 215, Gymnasium exterior surface of a duct that enters into the building from the exterior, back side of a cabinet in Room 119. (Report, p.3)
  • Mold spores were found on all nine surface swab samples. (Report, p. 3)
  • 11 types of mold spores were found on the collected samples.  (Report, p.3)
  • "All concentrations of mold spores found on the surface swab samples were reported to be low...."(Report, p.3)
  • In addition to the surface swab samples, "bulk samples" of suspected mold were taken from interior surface of drywalls in first floor stairwell S5, landings in the S5 stairwell between the first and second floors and on the second floor, hallway outside Room 216 that leads to stairwells S4 and S5. (Report, p.4)
  • 3 types of molds were found on the bulk samples taken from the drywall in these areas. (Report, p.4)
  • "[T]he reported concentration of these molds was primarily moderate and high." (Report, p.4)

One of the molds found on some of the "surface swab samples" and on some of the "bulk" drywall samples was a mold called Stachybotrys.  Stachybotrys is BLACK MOLD!*

Exhibit B test results on the BULK SAMPLE DATA show:
  • There was a HIGH CONCENTRATION of  Stachybotrys -- BLACK MOLD -- found on 2 of the bulk samples.  (Exhibit B, Bulk Sample Data report p.2 and 3)
  • There was also a HIGH CONCENTRATION of two other molds: Chaetomium (on 3 of the bulk samples) and Aspergillus/Penicillium (on 2 of the bulk samples). (Exhibit B, Bulk Sample Data report p.2 and 3)

Why didn't Dr. Schuster disclose these high concentrations or the existence of black mold in her email? Why did she only reference "low concentration" of mold spores in her email?  

Didn't she realize that D181 parents, teachers and staff are highly intelligent people who will not simply rely on her 7 paragraph email, but will actually take the time to read the entire report prepared by the test company and the actual test results laid out in the exhibits to the report?  

It is not enough that Dr. Schuster has finally had her staff prepare a web page providing a detailed timeline of events with multiple links to the actual test reports.  Parents should not have to dig through a haystack to discover a hidden needle.  Dr. Schuster should have personally disclosed the existence of the "needle" in the email she wrote and the web page she commissioned.  We hope the Board of Education or a parent, teacher or staff member will ask her why she failed to do so at the upcoming meeting.  We all deserve an answer to the question of why transparency continues to be such an illusive concept in D181.

*Stachybotrys is BLACK MOLD. Sources: 


Anonymous said...

As an HMS parent I find it curious that our PTO would send an email out to parents inferring that the information on the district website is "timely" and "accurate" regarding the mold problem that has now closed our school. What? We waited for practically two days to hear anything from Dr. Schuster. This is timely? I have read through the information on the website and I had to dig to find the true story. Does Schuster think we're stupid? Does the board think they can misrepresent facts to the public? As another parent has commented previously, this district has now become laughable.

Anonymous said...

Sadly the PTO has simply become an arm of the administration. During the 3rd grade math pilot debacle last year, the PTO presidents were furnished with the MAP results and were urged to share them with their schools and to let people know about an important board meeting on the issue. Instead the PTO presidents remained quite, and then mimicked the administration's line that a 50% MAP growth target was okay.

Anonymous said...

Looks like an emergency board meeting at Elm has been called for 7:00. Should be interesting.