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[Susan notes: Former teacher Joseph Mugivan has fought a long, hard fight over the need for schools to be tested for air-quality safety. The air teachers and students breathe seems to be an issue few care about.]

Published in The Chief: Civil Employees Weekly

To the editor

It was interesting to read about the debate over Teach­er tenure (Sept. 4 article). It must be realized that it does not exist for Teach­ers exercising their Federal and State rights due to environmental exposure.

Post-9/11 New York City brought air-quality testing to the fore, along with a push to to build schools on previously owned industrial sites. Mayor Bloomberg created Intro. 650 before the New York City Council, to mandate that all air-quality testing go through the Police Commissionerâs approval process.

The unions were up in arms, particularly those whose work­­ers were with the utilities below ground. I had the opportunity to serve on the Mayor's Commission, in opposition, alongside the unions,

NYCOSH and NYLPI, as a Teacher advocate. Intro. 650 was defeated.

Schools were also experiencing issues post-9/11, as the zoning laws were rescinded and questionable locations became available for their construction. Industrial sites that lay fallow saw opportunities for development. Technology advanced and vapor-extraction systems (VES) were installed. Schools would now need to be, hopefully, monitored in perpetuity.

In 2007, Info Tech High School, a former metal-plating factory site, leased by the Dept. of Education (DOE) in 2003, was the scene of one such event. The city had not foreseen the future complications of this new policy.

I was terminated, when driven from my school in Elm­­hurst in 2003 attempting to exercise my rights to an air-quality test at this former Water Department truck yard. The Principal and the Director of the union's Safety Division sought retirement the following year.

Joseph Mugivan

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