Pontiac Middle School teachers report becoming ill from dust particles and odor of cleaning supplies

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) - Some teachers at Pontiac Middle School went to their health clinic Wednesday after reporting symptoms that included coughing and a scratchy throat.

Aimee McKeever, President of the Pontiac Education Association, says about three to five of their members became ill while the district says it was about a dozen teachers who went to the clinic.

It appears one 14-year-old student was picked up early by her mother. Alice Morton says her daughter, who has asthma, was coughing.

The reported illness stems from dust generated by a work crew that had to use a jackhammer to break through the concrete flooring in a room so repairs could be made on a broken steam pipe.

There was so much dust in the school on Monday that, by late morning, district officials had canceled classes and called in a crew of about 25 workers to come in and clean with approved cleaning supplies.

When classes resumed on Tuesday, McKeever says several teachers, who also suffer from asthma, went to the clinic for treatment. But school officials tell 7 Action News that teachers only complained of a smell and did not leave to be treated.

McKeever says the teachers who went to the clinic on Wednesday were given breathing treatments and cleared to return to work later in the day.

Dr. Brian Dougherty, Superintendent of Pontiac Schools, says the health and safety of their students, teachers and faculty are their top priorities.

On Wednesday, contract negotiations began in the district that laid off 19 teachers last week. Over 100 teachers were laid off in 2012.

The Pontiac School District is trying to eliminate a $37 million deficit.

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