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Pa. teacher suspended for removing asbestos floor tiles

June 25, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg Area Senior High School teacher Monday began serving a 10-day suspension without pay for removing floor tiles containing asbestos and causing the school to be closed on the final day of classes, according to Director of Human Resources Lynn Lerew.

The name of the teacher would not be released, Lerew said Monday. The suspension for 10 working days will last until July 7.

"It's being handled as a personnel matter by the administration," Lerew said. The board of school directors was kept informed, but the disciplinary action was taken by Superintendent Edwin Sponseller, he said.

In addition to the suspension without pay, the teacher will be required to make restitution to the district "for costs of investigation and response to the incident," according to a statement released by the administration.

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That figure was being tabulated by District Business Manager Rick Vensel, and is not yet completed, Lerew said. The bill will be given to the teacher at the end of the suspension, according to a district statement.

The school was closed on Friday, June 6, after it was discovered the previous day the tiles had been removed on June 4. Juniors and sophomores were excused from classes, but seniors reported to the football stadium for graduation practice and teachers also reported to the stadium, Lerew said.

An environmental firm was called to do air quality sampling to determine if the dislodged tiles in the vocational-agricultural wing of the school caused asbestos to be released into the air, according to Lerew.

"By mid-afternoon the tests came back that it was clear," Lerew said. Students and staff were allowed in from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday, June 8, to remove their personal belongings.

The removal of the tiles from the teacher's office floor was unauthorized and not related to the multi-million dollar renovation of the school that began the next day, according to a district statement at the time of the incident. That project also involved the removal of some floor tiles in the school, a contract awarded to a company with expertise in removing materials containing asbestos.

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