Protest calls for PPS accountability for lead, radon

Parents say education is a civil right and PPS has violated that right

Parents are marching from Harriet Tubman Middle School to the PPS board meeting in protest. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dozens of fed up parents and community members marched from Harriet Tubman Middle School to the Portland Public School board meeting Tuesday night.

Protesters wanted to get a message across that PPS hasn’t been taking accountability for the recent lead and radon issues seen in schools.

Board member Paul Anthony was among those out before the march, talking to people and even holding signs.

The march was put on my concerned parents and community members who say it’s time for action.

Some parents are saying Portland Public Schools has violated their childrens’ civil right to education. Organizers of Tuesday’s march say parents should be filing civil rights complaints.

Protesters continued their demonstration with signs and chants of “Fire Carole Smith!” and “Our children’s lives matter!” rang out as concerns over lead in the water and radon in the air seemed to reach a boiling point.

At one point the board called for a recess due to the disruptions.

Parents are marching from Harriet Tubman Middle School to the PPS board meeting in protest. (KOIN)
Parents are marching from Harriet Tubman Middle School to the PPS board meeting in protest. (KOIN)

Superintendent Carole Smith kept her cool, just hours after announcing her retirement. Some say the end of the 2016-2017 school year is too long to wait for new leadership.

“There’s too much to go back on, we need to indict her right now and do a full investigation,” said protest leader Teressa Raiford.

“It’s not really hard to grasp the issue here,” said another leader, Cecile Evans. “There’s lead in the water. They’ve known about it.”

Governor Kate Brown said Tuesday it’s possible that starting this fall, all Oregon schools would have to come up with a plan for health and safety assessments.

“Having facilities that don’t have the safety standards in place to keep them healthy and well, that’s a civil rights issue,” Raiford said.

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