LONG ISLAND - For some students in the Northport-East Northport School District it’s a typical school day but for others - it’s far from it.
“Some kids are excited because it’s a first day of school all over again and others are nervous,” said parent Denise Schwartz.
More than 650 sixth, seventh and eighth graders and faculty from Northport Middle School were relocated Thursday morning to three other schools in the district. This while administrators address years of complaints about odors and hazardous chemicals possibly sickening students and staff.
Now parents like Maria Monda no longer have to worry. Her eighth grade twin boys will be finishing the year in the high school. She says for the most part the transition has been smooth. Older students even welcomed their new classmates with banners.
“I used to wake up in the morning going - should I send them, should I not send them?”
The district declined an on camera interview but said on the website the plan is to close Northport Middle School for the rest of the school year while an environmental firm tests elements including soil, vapor and air quality.
Initial results indicate high levels of mercury and benzenes in leaching pools and septic tanks.
Some parents say the move has created a divide in the community because not everyone thinks it was necessary.
“Science doesn’t lie and then you’ll thank us for fighting for your children,” said parent Tammie Topel. “I’m getting a little snarky because they’re getting mean.”
The Department of Health has also begun an extensive review of cancer rates in the District after a number of students from a recent graduating class were diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma.
A board of education meeting is scheduled for Thursday night at the High School to accommodate a larger turnout.