Misplaced Priorities: LAUSD Students Face Threat of Unsafe Drinking Water

Seven years ago NBC4 reported that aging pipes and water fountains were leaching lead particles into the drinking water at LAUSD facilities. In response, the district instituted a water-wasting “flushing policy” that required schools to run “every fountain ‘a minimum of 30 seconds’ before school each day.’” This was supposed to be a “stop-gap measure” until the district could replace the lead fixtures or install filters. Despite assurances that “the health and safety of our students is a priority,” these repairs have only been made at one school.

There is no excuse for this lack of action by the current leadership of the LAUSD. Voters have approved the sale of bonds with the promise that they would be used for construction and repairs. They could have been used to remove lead piping and provide clean drinking water. Instead, LAUSD School Board approved the diversion of these funds to the purchase of iPads using a program that is now being investigated by the FBI. Tamar Galatzan not only voted for this plan, she “has been the iPad program’s most enthusiastic supporter and has never asked the important questions.”

Ms. Galatzan closed last Thursday’s LAUSD Candidate Forum for District 3 by stating that “the district is going in the right direction.” I disagree. The fact that our students are exposed to unsafe drinking water is further proof that it is time for a course correction.