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Finally clearing the air ...

May 6, 2008 - Lee Smith
The Sentinel, and more specifically reporter Jennifer Brookens, has been having quite a ride recently with the story involving possible asbestos contamination at the St. John's school site in Bancroft, Iowa. The building houses the elementary school for North Kossuth Schools. First came the possibility of contamination, then reports from the district that asbestos levels in the air were as much as 150 higher than safe. Finally, the school found its previous test encompassed all materials floating in the air and that their was no unsafe level of asbestos. In the meantime, students were pulled from the school, parents went nuts and newspaper editorials questioned why more wasn't done sooner. All and all, it was very unfortunate. Especially since all the panic was for naught. While everyone involved was acting according to the knowledge they had at the time, thus believing they were doing the right thing, the final result was simply a public relations black eye for North Kossuth. As for our role, we know we contributed to the interest and worry, but we are obligated to report on matters such as these, especially when top school officials are telling us their school is contaminated. We hope the ongoing coverage we provided at least was finally able to help clear the air, so to speak. Our criticism about how quickly North Kossuth acted remains in place. But we also support its ultimate decision to relocate its elementary kids from the St. John's building to Swea City.


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