Teachers open up about toxic chemical found at McClymonds High School in Oakland


OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — McClymond’s High School teachers are speaking out about the toxic chemical found at the school. 

They want to know how long it’s been there and how it may have been affecting people.

“It’s really scary,” a teacher said. “It’s scary for the students and it’s very disruptive to the faculty.”

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she has been teaching at McClymonds High School for more than 20 years. 

She said the Oakland Unified School District is not adequately informing students, their parents or staff of the potential dangers of TCE.

“We don’t know,” she said. “And we’re not getting any information. The parents aren’t getting any information and we’re quite worried.”

Exu Anton Mates is a former math teacher at McClymonds. He believes the issue was predictable because the district lacks attention to the school’s needs.

“I’m not about to blame the district for this,” he said. “On the other hand, I think it does drive home that environmental quality in west Oakland is quite bad.”

With that in mind, Mates said the district needed to be ready for this type of situation to come up.

“I blame the district for not checking all potential environmental issues and for not coming up with a plan to overhaul the school infrastructure,” he said.

Hazardous chemical experts hired by the school district will be studying for any possible threat at McClymonds.

But teachers fear there will be now be trust issues with returning to the school because of the uncertainty of recurring issues.

“I don’t know if students are gonna come back. I don’t know if teachers are going to be back next year,” the teacher said. “If I’m worried about my health and I may ask for a transfer. We don’t know.”

Teachers are expecting to learn more about the situation Monday morning at West Oakland Middle Library. They want to know when they can return to the school, or at least find out where classes will be held in the meantime.

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