Parents concerned about lack of answers provided on lead water testing at DC schools

- Parents believe more D.C. Public Schools students may have been impacted by high lead levels in water.

School leaders have said 12 schools were found to have elevated amounts of lead in water testing done as far back as August. Those schools are:

- Barnard Elementary
- Brown Education Campus
- Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan
- C.H.O.I.C.E. Academy at Emery
- Francis Scott Key Elementary School
- Leckie Elementary School
- Marie Reed Elementary School
- Miner Elementary School
- Payne Elementary School
- Thomson Elementary School
- Truesdell Education Campus
- Wheatley Education Campus

But according to records, several other schools tested last summer also had water sources where high lead was found, including J.O. Wilson Elementary School.

"Our school was not on the list even though it was tested in August 2015 like the other schools," said parent Iris Bond Gill. "When we've asked about it, we've continued to kind of be stonewalled. We don't get the answers that we need, and we just assume that there are probably other schools like us that are out there. And unfortunately for them, they may still not know about it."

The Department of General Services (DGS), the D.C. agency in charge of the water tests, admits to mistakes, including not notifying schools about the high lead levels and, in some cases, not following proper steps to shut off the bad water right away.

Now, DGS is testing water for lead in every public school in the District, a process that got underway last week.

A DGS spokesperson said the first round of results from the new water tests should be available Tuesday or Wednesday.

Meanwhile, parents still have a lot of questions about who knew what and when, and why they should believe this won't happen again.

"We haven't gotten answers to a lot of our specific questions," said Evan Yeats, a parent of a child at J.O. Wilson Elementary. "DCPS has answered questions, but not DGS, which is the agency that deals specifically with the testing. So I think DGS has to come to the table and has to have real answers."

DCPS has tested children for lead exposure at two impacted schools. So far, tests have come back normal.

"If families have concerns about their child and potential lead exposure, they are encouraged to discuss the matter with their pediatrician or primary care provider," said a statement from D.C Public Schools. "For any family who needs help finding a pediatrician, please contact Diana Bruce at (202) 442-5103 or Diana.Bruce@dc.gov."

Water test results from recent years can be found here: http://dgs.dc.gov/page/water-sampling-results-dc-public-schools

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