“Hey kids, do you know what asbestos is? No? Great! How about you volunteer for a fun project, helping us clear asbestos without any protective gear ! YAY!” This may or may not be the exact way that teachers and administrators conned 13-year-olds into spending several weekends engaged in a “volunteer” activity to remove asbestos from a school building.
Students as young as 13 who attend the Buckeye Education School spent several weekends removing asbestos-filled materials without any protective gear at the former YWCA on Smith Road in Middleburg Heights, said Cleveland Commissioner of Air Quality George Baker, who also works with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Buckeye Education School, in case you are wondering, is a religious school that is associated with Exclusive Brethren, a Christian church that expects its followers to reject the worlds of both sports and entertainment, which includes both radio and TV and probably the internet, which is explains why none of the kids looked up the word “asbestos” on the internet before committing themselves to this fun after school activity. Also, the building was going to be turned into a gym, which articulates poorly with a mission premised on rejecting sports, but we did not expect much of anything to make sense here so we are not surprised, really.
Darren Clink, who lives next to the former Y, used a camera to shoot video of the students and others taking debris out of the building using buckets and a small front-end loader. The video shows a large cloud of dust dispersing in the air after debris was dropped into a dumpster.
“The entire site was contaminated with asbestos and the people who were doing it were all children,” said Clink. “The kids were loaded with it.”
Don’t worry though, now that this “volunteer project” has come to light, the school has “engaged the services of a certified asbestos remediation company,” so all is well that ends well, or you can check back in 20 years.