Asbestos found in local schools, officials say to not worry

JACKSON, Tenn.– What would you do if your child came home from school with a note that said asbestos had been found in the building? That happened at schools across Jackson-Madison County earlier this month. Students at East Elementary came home with that note Wednesday night.

“This is something we do on an annual basis,” said Allen Powell, director of maintenance at Jackson-Madison County Schools. “We send one out every year to parents and staff, teachers, maintenance workers, custodial workers, anybody who is in that building.”

Students at East Elementary, Andrew Jackson Elementary, Alexander Elementary, Community Montessori, Lincoln Elementary, Madison Academic Magnet High School, Nova Learning Center, North Parkway Middle School, North Side High School, Park View Learning Center, Pope Elementary and South Side High School received the letter as part of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act.

However, officials say the fiber’s presence should not cause concern.

“It’s not like radiation. Just because you’re in proximity of it, there’s no danger,” Powell said. “It’s only if you make it friable, make it airborne to where it’s breathable, does it become a hazard.”

They take the proper steps to make sure people stay safe while there is construction in the schools.

“So we bring another company in, and they’ll actually seal off the area. They’ll use an abatement method, and a lot of times that’s going to be spraying it down with water, scraping it, bagging it up, and then they dispose of it properly,” Powell said.

Powell says they do plan on having construction at Alexander Elementary later this school year, and they will be following state laws.

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