Public High – Woonsocket High Sat, 08 Jan 2022 03:15:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Public High – Woonsocket High 32 32 Oregon demands quick fix to high lead levels in Portland water Sat, 08 Jan 2022 01:30:35 +0000

It has been six years since Dr. Marc Edwards first identified toxic levels of lead in water in Flint, Michigan.

Since then, Professor Virginia Tech, credited alongside her colleague with drawing the world’s attention to a brewing water crisis in Flint, has been baffled by the lead levels in another city: Portland, Oregon.

Edwards, who specializes in water treatment, is blunt: “It’s worse than Flint.

Portland’s Bull Run Reservoir is the main source of drinking water for the City of Portland, but regulators say its water is corrosive and can cause lead solder in older pipes to rupture and leach into the tank. stagnant water, creating health risks.

Amelia Templeton / OPB

“In Flint, it lasted 18 months. ” he said. “It was a national and international outcry, thousands of stories, dozens of documentary films. … In Portland, they are above action level again and this has been going on for several decades.

In recent years, Flint’s water has become synonymous with environmental disaster. Portland’s water, meanwhile, is considered one of the most pristine in the country, though the city’s lead levels typically stay just below – and sometimes exceed – the federal safe limit of 15 parts per. billion (or ppb). If test samples contain lead levels above 15 ppb, the Environmental Protection Agency requires the utility to take action to reduce the amount of lead, such as updating old pipes or treating water. .

Last November, Portlanders received an urgent reminder that the city’s lead problem persisted. Of 104 homes sampled by the water bureau, 10 percent had lead levels above 21 parts per billion – the highest results the city has seen in two decades and well above the federal limit.

Two homes sampled had lead levels more than five times above the EPA limit – 105 ppb and 81 ppb, according to a letter from the Oregon Health Authority obtained by the OPB.

For Edwards, the results were the latest reminder that Portland’s water officials have failed for years to significantly reduce the city’s lead levels. For the Oregon Health Authority, it was a sign that they had to intervene.

Health regulators crack down

On December 14, the drinking water division of the Oregon Health Authority sent a letter to the director of the Portland Water Bureau, Gabriel Solmer.

“Drinking Water Services (DWS) is very concerned about the recent exceedance of the primary action level,” wrote Technical Director Kari Salis. “As you know, there is no lead exposure level without danger.”

Since the late 1990s, samples have shown Portland to exceed the federal lead level 11 times. In 2017, after Portland surpassed that threshold again, the OHA asked the water office to build a corrosion control treatment facility, according to Salis’ letter. The water in the Bull Run watershed is naturally corrosive, which can lead to lead infiltration from plumbing and copper fixtures into homes. By building a facility to make Portland water less corrosive, the office hopes to reduce the amount of lead dissolving from old plumbing in standing water. Installation is expected to be completed by April.

But with lead samples at the highest levels since 2000, the Oregon Health Authority is demanding a faster solution.

The agency asked the water bureau to provide a plan of “additional short-term measures” by Friday. OHA spokesperson Jonathan Modie said the agency expects, at a minimum, the plan to include “further adjustments to treatment, as well as increased public education and awareness.” .

Water bureau spokesman Jaymee Cuti said the two agencies “are working together on a plan to best protect vulnerable people and all who drink our water.”

Senior expert recommends water filters

Lead can affect almost all organs with particularly harmful exposure to the body and mind of pregnant people and children. The toxin puts children at increased risk for learning and behavior problems, including attention deficit disorder, and it puts mothers at a higher likelihood of miscarriage, according to the EPA.

While the EPA requires utilities to take action when lead levels exceed 15 ppb, Dr Bruce Lanphear, who has studied lead poisoning for 25 years, said lead in drinking water may have adverse health effects once levels reach 5 ppb. He recommends that Portland residents in high-risk homes use filters for their water.

The water bureau reports that the homes most exposed to lead in water are those with copper pipes connected to lead solder, which were typically built or leaded between 1970 and 1985. This potentially accounts for up to ‘to 15,000 homes, according to the bureau. Twice a year, Portland will sample the water from homes at greatest risk, those built between 1983 and 1985.

Edwards Professor Virginia Tech said Portland holds the distinction as the largest city consistently showing high levels of lead in their water samples for high-risk homes. He puts the blame on the Portland Water Bureau and an unusual arrangement made decades ago with the state health authority.

Through the “Lead and Copper Rule”, the EPA regulates the amount of lead allowed in drinking water and requires utilities to take action if lead levels exceed a threshold of 15 ppb. In 1997, the state allowed Portland to come up with a unique answer to the rule. Instead of treating water like other cities were doing, Portland launched a program that would focus on education, awareness and repair of lead paint in homes with children, according to a 2016 survey. by The Oregonian.

This investigation found that this one-of-a-kind deal meant that Portland had effectively bypassed general EPA regulations to minimize lead in the water supply. The water bureau did not need to follow federal rules that require the addition of chemicals to water to reduce pipe corrosion and prevent the release of lead, the report said.

New treatment facility planned

Since then, the city has changed course. The water bureau said it expects the new corrosion control facility, where the water will be treated with soda ash and carbon dioxide, to significantly reduce lead levels in Portland.

To measure the impact this installation will have, the water bureau has launched a two-year study of 40 people so officials can see how lead levels in high-risk homes improve after the installation is online.

For Christine Prapas, the change in treatment does not come soon enough.

Prapas, a retired artist, has lived in her southwest Portland neighborhood at Garden Home House since 1991. Her house was 10 years old when she bought it, built during a time when lead in plumbing was common .

Last January, Prapas received a note from the water office asking him to participate in the study. In return for sending monthly water samples, she would get a reduced water bill and monthly analysis for lead in her water.

She started sending samples from her kitchen sink in June of last year. Since then, she has seen her test numbers increase. Seven months of results reviewed by OPB show that its samples fell from 12.9 ppb on June 14 to 18.9 ppb on December 2.

From the first result, Prapas started using a lead filter for his tap. But she worries about people in older homes like hers who have never received a letter from the water office.

“You can’t boil lead,” she says. “It affects infants, it affects us all.”

The water office said it is working in close coordination with the OHA and expects to be able to deliver its lead reduction plan early next week once it has been reviewed by the authority. sanitary.

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State seeks to speed up credentials for school mental health counselors Thu, 06 Jan 2022 01:22:00 +0000

Faced with a shortage of mental health counselors in schools, the state’s Department of Education seeks to bring 10,000 more professionals to campuses at a time when federal public health officials call for action to address the growing youth mental health crisis in the country.

The adviser’s effort, which requires legislative approval, would be aimed at attracting clinicians to schools through the cancellation and postponement of loans, scholarships to offset education costs and potentially reduce the time needed for clinicians in mental health to obtain their license, Supt. Education Tony Thurmond said Wednesday during a visit to Washington Preparatory High School in south Los Angeles. Thurmond has said he is in talks with lawmakers and is hopeful that a measure, which is expected to cost $ 250 million, can be introduced in the coming weeks.

“I don’t see anything more important right now to deal with the trauma that students and families have gone through,” said Thurmond. “But the reality is that there is a shortage, there just aren’t enough counselors in many schools and communities, urban, suburban, rural.”

For years educators have warned of a shortage of mental health professionals. A 2018 report by researchers at UCSF’s Healthforce Center found that if current trends continue, by 2028 the state will have 41% fewer psychiatrists than needed and 11% fewer psychologists, counselors. licensed professional clinics and licensed clinical social workers as needed to meet the health care needs of the state.

In December, US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued a rare public advisory that highlighted concerns about a sharp increase in anxiety and depression among young people. The report offers recommendations on what communities – including schools, parents, and tech companies – can do to address this.

Murthy’s advice includes a recommendation to support the expansion of the workforce for mental health professionals.

“In the school environment, governments should invest in building up a pool of school counselors, nurses, social workers and school psychologists,” said the opinion.

Dr Jonathan Goldfinger, pediatrician and general manager of Didi Hirsch mental health services in Los Angeles County, joined Thurmond to talk about the effects of the pandemic on children and how it has led to an increase in bad behavior in schools.

“We are seeing the effects of trauma literally spreading under the skin of children and manifesting itself in behaviors in our classrooms, in our homes, in our communities, in our clinics, that we have really never seen before,” Goldfinger said. “We have had an emerging national emergency or pandemic of mental illness in our youth in the United States because we have not previously invested in our workforce. We have really treated mental health differently from physical health and acted like it isn’t as important, when below all of that mental health is fundamental to physical health.

Loretta Whitson, executive director of the California Assn. school counselors said the proposal is “a good first step” but warned against sending “less qualified people” in a rush to deal with crises.

Aspiring mental health clinicians typically take more than six years of training and extensive clinical work before working full-time, Whitson said. She said that a preliminary certification allowing students to help in school settings could help alleviate the demand facing schools.

There “might be a system in place where they support these advisers,” Whitson said. “As long as they don’t supplant the fully trained ones.”

Efforts to increase access to a mental health career by reducing financial burdens are welcome, Whitson said, as the problem of expanding the workforce will persist as long as schools feel the need for it. .

“There is a mental health crisis where we have to put all of our energy into our schools to help children,” Whitson said.

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Racist and homophobic insults spray painted at the high school of the Academy of San Dieguito Tue, 04 Jan 2022 01:10:00 +0000

Authorities are investigating spray-painted racist and homophobic slurs at San Dieguito Academy High School in Encinitas on New Years Day, an incident that has sparked demands to end discrimination in the school, district and town.

This was at least the third incident of hate graffiti on a campus in the San Dieguito Union High School District this school year.

In a press conference that turned into a rally at the Academy of San Dieguito on Monday, around 150 people – students, parents and other members of the community – condemned the latest incident and demanded changes.

They were holding signs that read, “Stop the hate” and “All students deserve to feel safe.” ”

Several speakers criticized the school district, which held a separate press conference at around the same time on Monday, saying the district had not listened to demands from students and others and had not taken action to prevent acts of hatred.

Speakers also said the latest incident was the product of problematic culture.

“We’re not at all shocked or surprised,” said Robin Sales, a member of Show Up for Racial Justice North County San Diego, of the latest incident.

District officials said whoever painted the slurs will suffer the consequences.

“We completely condemn these actions,” Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward said at a press conference Monday. “We understand that the San Dieguito Union school district is not perfect. We know that we also have problems with racism, “-isms” and religious problems. We are well aware of this. Because of this awareness, we have put in place different steps to help us become our next best selves. “

According to surveillance footage, the incident happened just before 4 a.m. on Saturday when a person wearing a beanie, hoodie and mask entered the campus and, with a can of spray paint in hand painted the insults on the outside of a building, said James-Ward.

It is difficult to see the person’s face in the pictures because of the cap and mask, she said, but officials believe she is a young person due to the “movement and the movement “of the person. James-Ward said the district plans to purchase more and better security cameras that will help the district identify future culprits.

The district reported the incident to the county sheriff’s department, which launched a hate crimes investigation. Lt. Amber Baggs, a spokesperson for the department, said no suspects were identified on Monday.

“This is totally unacceptable,” Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said at Monday’s rally at the Academy of San Dieguito. “There is no place in this city for that kind of hate.”

Cheryl James-Ward is the Superintendent of the San Dieguito Union School District.


James-Ward said district workers painted the graffiti at 1 p.m. Saturday. But not before someone took pictures of the insults.

Community activist Tasha Williamson shared two photos of the insults on social media on Saturday night, highlighting the incident.

“San Diego County hasn’t changed! Our children are going back to school in Encinitas, where there is racist and LGBTQ trauma, ”she wrote. on Twitter. “We continue to be subjected to LGBTQ racism and hatred generation after generation.”

The San Dieguito Union School District, located in the affluent northern coastal county suburb, serves 13,000 middle and high school students. The majority of the students are white, but the neighborhood has become increasingly diverse in recent years. In 2014, 33% of students were people of color. Last year, 42% were people of color.

Currently, about 58 percent of the district’s students are white, 17 percent are Asian, 16 percent are Latino, 7 percent are multiracial, and less than 1 percent are black.

Since fall 2020, some San Dieguito students have called for the district to do more to embrace diversity. Suggestions include at least one book in every English class written by a person of color and the experience of people of color, add text on race, systemic racism and white supremacy, and provide more services mental health issues to students.

James-Ward, who has served as superintendent since Nov. 1, said the district is working to combat racism and cultivate an inclusive environment.

She highlighted several district initiatives, including ethnic student clubs and diversity and equity efforts among school student groups, as well as training on diversity, equity and inclusion. for employees and a new district station that will investigate complaints about racism.

“We know there is a problem, but we are working to fix it,” James-Ward told the Union-Tribune in an interview on Sunday night. “We know we won’t change overnight, but we are on the road and will continue on this road.”

Last month there was an incident at Torrey Pines High School, which is in the same neighborhood as San Dieguito Academy, when swastikas were found painted in the boys’ bathrooms. James-Ward said a student was responsible, but did not disclose the consequences, if any, that this student faced.

For the Academy of San Dieguito, the latest incident marked the second time that a racial insult has been painted on campus property. In November, someone tagged the n-word at school. This person has not been identified, but James-Ward said school officials did not believe he was a student.

“The writing is on the wall,” said Jill Lax, a retired San Dieguito Academy teacher on Monday. “This is what we have been for decades. Ask any colored alumnus why they don’t want to come back and teach.

Among those who attended Monday’s rally was Jason Stewart, head coach of the boys’ basketball team. He said he thought he and an assistant coach were the only two black employees at the school.

“I think we have to be intentional in hiring,” Stewart said in an interview, adding that it’s important to normalize blacks and browns in “positions of influence,” especially in schools.

While the graffiti was no longer visible on Monday, the pain and frustration persisted.

“You can’t hide the pain these students will endure their entire lives,” said Rob Jenkins, NAACP vice president for North San Diego County.

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Meisha Porter had 3 goals as Head of Schools in New York: “Open. Open. Open.’ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 06:01:03 +0000

Meisha R. Porter became New York’s Schools Chancellor in March, tasked with reopening the nation’s largest school district, serving nearly one million students, during the pandemic.

Prior to becoming chancellor, she was executive superintendent for the Bronx, principal, principal, vice-principal and teacher. She was also a public school student herself, a graduate of Queens Technical High School, one of her first plumbing students. Her daughter is a public high school student at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem.

Ms Porter, 48, who was the city’s first black female schoolmaster, led the effort to get high school kids back to classrooms, launch summer programs and make sure all students can return to school safely in September.

She is now on the cusp of becoming President and CEO of the Bronx Community Foundation, which is dedicated to improving equity in the borough.