Sunday, September 30, 2012

It is not criminal to injure schoolchildren with hazardous chemicals. True or False?

"School is suppose to be a safe place," cried an outraged parent to a national TV reporter.  True or False? Are schoolchildren safe? Does it matter if the children are harmed by bullets or by chemicals?  Does it matter if the criminal is a man or a businessman?

If man walked into a US middle school and threaten a child or teacher with deadly chemicals.  Ordered to stand down, he refused, holding them hostage for three days.  The incident would make international news.  Police and first responders would be called to the school. 

The man would have been arrested and held accountable for violation of law.  Children would have been offered counseling services.  The public would have been outraged while rushing to remove their children. Law makers would have acted quickly to prevent another incident and the US president would have reassured the public and . . .   It is criminal to threaten schoolchildren with bullets, even though no one was injured.  Witnesses who gave false testimony would face criminal charges.

But -

On October 8, 9, 10, roofing contractor Jim English knowingly gassed 1000 children and teachers at Long Beach Middle School in Mississippi with deadly chemicals.  The children and teachers were held hostage by laws requiring their attendance, despite hazardous conditions at the school and reports of dozens of injuries. 

The Long Beach police did not respond, nor investigate.  Office personnel denied emergency treatment of more than a dozen injured children, then ordered the injured back to class.  Assistance principal Richard Whalen demanded that Mr. English stop spraying the chemicals because children had been injured.  Mr. English refused. 

Mr. English was not arrested for endangerment of children by spraying chemicals,  even though more children and teachers were seriously injured.  First responders did not treat the children, nor offer counseling for those suffering trauma. 

The public was not outraged, choosing instead to ridicule the injured.  Jim English was never held accountable. Mississippi law makers did nothing.  The local papers published a misleading article, that quoting Long Beach School Superintendent Bob Ferguson that the chemicals were not toxic.

In the U. S. it is not criminal to injure schoolchildren with chemicals.  Those who gave false testimony to the court in the above true event were never held accountable.  In the twenty five years since the tragedy at Long Beach Middle School, no one has apologized, no lawmaker has ever tried to prevent another tragedy.  No U. S. President has acknowledged that U. S. schools are no safer now than they were in 1985.

Those who harm U. S. schoolchildren with deadly, cancer-causing chemicals are getting away with murder.  True.

Submitted by Nancy Swan, who was seriously and permanently injured from exposure to some of the most deadly chemicals manufactured while teaching at Long Beach Middle School in 1985.  No one was ever held accountable to the injured. Read more Toxic Justice - Nancy Swan


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