Valley Times                          Saturday, May 19, 2001 
 Reader Addresses the Health, Safety and Welfare Issues 
                               on New High School 

To the Editor:

I want to address some health, safety and welfare issues involving this new Derby High School vote.  I realize that certain people are waiting for this referendum to pass, and they don't care what they have to do in order to make it pass.  But let's be real, you can't ingore the warning signs of a referendum that has turned sour even to the point of endangering children's lives in the future.

When Mr. Michael Oliva posed the question in the Connecticut Post about thinking whether this school was overcrowded to a point where either the city or state fire marshal would be compelled to condemn the building, Mr. Dave Rogers responded that he was curious why any overcrowded building would be condemned.  Rogers doesn't feel a building where children are being instructed in firetraps should be condemned?  Would HE send his child to learn in a closet?

Maureen Kelleher also stated that most schools today don't have a secondary access road because of safety reasons.  She stated that most school officials don't know who is coming in and out on those roads.  Most school officials wouldn't know who is coming in and out on the main road either!  You have to have a secondary access road for safety reasons!

The road, however, for this new high school would have to be built through the woods and come out onto Bellevue Drive: Guess who lives at the end of Bellevue Drive? 

The land where they want to build that high school is located no more than a half mile from the Derby landfill, which has a brook running through the area downward into that field.  The brook carries low level contaminates as it wends its way toward the Housatonic River.  Now, the Garofalo administration is conducting costly experiments to see if the land is contaminated at the present time.

You remember Fire Island?  The city was all set a few years ago to start building Little League fields on the site until an outside engineering firm declared that there were toxic waste contaminates under the ground.  The toxic waste had been buried deep in the soil for years and just showed up a few years ago!  Soil testing isn't always adequate because you can't always detect contamination of the soil right away.

What happens five years from now if students start getting sick in that school?  Is Mayor Garofalo going to take the responsibility?  Michael Kelleher or his wife?  I know Dave Rogers or any number of his friends who are pushing for this new high school aren't going to.  I'm not for the high school, but if you're picking, land sites, why take a risk that the one you're on may be a danger some day?

One more thing about safety also.  On May 3 a fire broke out in Derby High School.  Some of the parents I know told me that the alarms NEVER WENT OFF!  There's a defect in the alarm system!  I believe the opponents of this school are thinking more of the health, welfare and safety of the children than these proponents are!  This is real, this isn't imagined.  This is a fire hazard when you have defective smoke detectors.  

I keep reading about how these proponents for this school are doing it "for the children."  The only ones doing anything for the children are those who vote AGAINST this school on June 12.

How can you possibly want a new high school when you can't even take the responsibility of maintaining and inspecting these smoke detectors in the building you have now!  I'm only 24 years old, and I have never seen anything like this in my life.  

Vote no, think of your future, think of your children!  

  PAUL ROBERTSON 
  Derby