Parents of three children say their elementary school made them sick, but school officials say repeated tests show the building is not contaminated.
Jerry and Emily Wilson say their daughters, in first, second and fourth grades, have been diagnosed with chronic inflammatory response syndrome, which they believe is related to toxic mold at Central Elementary School, in The Classical Academy charter school network in Academy School District 20.
The Wilsons pulled their children from the school last fall.
Problems started, Emily said, when her oldest daughter began having anxiety in the summer between first and second grade in 2016. She didn’t respond to treatment. She was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory response syndrome, removed from the school and began detoxification, her mother said.
“Our real desire is that TCA do recognize that there is some kind of a problem at their school environmentally,” she said.
Wilson told the TCA school board Monday night that 11 additional students from Central now have tested positive for the same affliction.
“Rather than discredit and try to quiet families, we want (the school) to be transparent,” she said. “We believe there is a public health issue there.”
Three tests for mold spores by two independent companies this school year showed no to low mold counts, according to test results the school provided to The Gazette.
“I really don’t see how ‘mold’ would be causing a problem,” said Carl Bump of Symtek Consulting Inc. “The levels are very low.”
No mold is visible in the school, Emily Wilson said.
After a few parents raised the issue last fall, more air-quality tests were conducted schoolwide, said TCA spokeswoman Tisha Harris.
“Every test has come back negative,” Harris said. “Tests concluded all measurements inside were well within limits set by the World Health Organization and were, in fact, better than the outside air quality.”
Tests were done in August, October and January in 28 classrooms, commons areas and modular offices, focusing on those occupied by the concerned families’ children, she said.
The building, formerly Mountain View Elementary, had been remodeled and stripped “down to the studs,” Harris said. “It was completely renovated three years ago, so it’s a brand-new building.”
The Wilsons insist something is wrong with the school at 1655 Springcrest Road in northern Colorado Springs. They started a Facebook page Monday, Friends of TCA, to inform parents and encourage them to have their children tested for chronic inflammatory response syndrome, which occurs due to the body’s inability to remove certain biotoxins, such as mold.
Anxiety, dizziness, unusual fatigue, stomachaches and headaches are the five most common and persistent symptoms among TCA children diagnosed with the condition, Emily Wilson said.
The syndrome is more acute in people who are sensitive to mold, which she said applies to her daughters. Their family home tested negative for mold, she said, and symptoms for all three children disappeared after they left Central Elementary.
“Our family has been through hell for the past three years, and we have been granted a reprieve only after we transferred out of Central,” the mother said.
Harris said the school takes the health and safety of all students and staff members seriously and over the past decade has done regular “proactive air quality testing for mold at all three TCA campuses.”
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