Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mystery illness attacks Hunking School teachers, Massachusetts, Haverhill - 22nd Nov 2011

At least 10 teachers at the troubled Hunking Middle School have contracted a poison ivy-like rash, according to the head of a parents group who is calling for the building to be vacated and closed.

Parent Kelly Valaskatgis, president of the newly formed Haverhill Parents Shaping Our Schools group that is pushing for a new school, said she spoke to two teachers yesterday afternoon about the situation.

"I'm told they all have a rash that looks like poison ivy," Valaskatgis said. "Some are having bronchial problems. They all believe something in the school is making them sick."

Valaskatis said some of the affected teachers have been put on prednisone, a steroid used to suppress inflammation.

"Our goal now is to get the kids and the teachers out of the building," Valaskatgis said. "We want it evacuated immediately."

School Superintendent James Scully said he is aware of only two teachers who have complained of rashes, not including principal David Cook, who has been on sick leave but is expected back later this week or early next week, Scully said.

Scully maintained the building is safe and that there is no reason to close the school.

"In an hour it's going to be 20 teachers with rashes, then 40," he said, suggesting the situation is being exaggerated by teachers there. Read More