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Decatur Township teachers' health concerns spark school testing

Posted at 3:44 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 16:10:56-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The Blue and Gold Academies located at 5650 Mann Road in Indianapolis will be the focus of environmental testing after teachers disclosed health issues.

The Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township hired Avon-based pH2 LLC Monday to investigate and find if the school building is contributing to the health concerns at the school. The testing is expected to take several months.

Superintendent Dr. Matt Prusiecki says the well-being of his staff and students is a priority. He says he was made aware of the concerns last week and immediately looked for a company to respond to the situation.

"We decided to be proactive and consulted an outside expert to come in, work with us to be able to look into the situation and determine any viability or dispel any type of speculation that came about," Dr. Prusiecki said.

The call for testing was prompted after school officials learned of at least four teachers since 2018 being diagnosed with head-related tumors at the school with 147 staff members and 1,396 students.

The three most-recent cases involve teachers disclosing tumors within the past six months including in August and September 2019 and January 2020.

There have been no public reports of students experiencing similar health concerns. Under federal privacy rules, it would be impossible to know that information unless released by parents.

Avon-based pH2 LLC released a statement confirming it was hired to investigate the concerns posed by faculty and members of the community.

The company in a statement said, “At this point, due to HIPAA constraints, pH2 does not have critical information to determine if there is a health issue. pH2 has no information to indicate that anyone in this community is at risk in general.”

Ph2 LLC is planning in the near future to provide a toll-free number for people to call and report concerns at the school.

“To determine potential risk here, pH2 will follow established federal protocols. Everything that is being done is strictly preventative and precautionary, in order to determine if any issues do exist. The next step is to go through the proper channels to get the medical and information releases so that we can proceed with the assessment. As we continue with this process, we will provide updates to inform teachers, staff, and the community,” the company statement said.

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