Parents push for bottled water as HISD tests for lead

Parents are demanding bottled water until lead testing is completed in all HISD schools.

Safety is every parent's wish when they send their kids off to school.

"We want them to be safe," said Carmen Thomas. But Thomas is worried about what may be in the water at her daughter's HISD school.

"If it's not safe for them to drink, I wouldn't want them to drink it," said Thomas.

At Thursday night's board meeting, she'll ask HISD to provide bottled water for drinking at nearly every school in the district, while Texas' largest district tests the water at its 283 schools for lead.

"The sooner the better," said Thomas.

Orell Fitzsimmons is field director for Texas United Employees Union, Local 100. He says 101 of HISD's 180 elementary schools were built before federal regulations banned lead in 1986. Those are the schools he's most concerned about.

Related: Testing finds high lead levels inside HISD high school

"Every school is not going to have lead, but we don't know which ones do," said Thomas. "Unless you know it's safe, you shouldn't be exposing children to it once they get exposed. It's irreversible damage."

HISD tells KHOU 11 that five schools - Wharton Dual Language Academy, Hogg Middle School, Henderson Elementary School, Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men, and McReynolds Middle School - were all randomly tested for lead in March. All lead levels at those campuses were found to be within acceptable standards. So at this point, HISD says there's no need to provide bottled water.

That's not good enough for Fitzsimmons.

"I would like to invite the new superintendent to come out to Cornelius Elementary with me and let's have a glass of water and see how he feels about it," said Fitzsimmons.

Thomas says this is about protecting children and after watching the water crisis unfold in Flint. She believes it's better to be safe than sorry.

"I would hope my city takes responsibility and not let the situation get to that point like what happened in Flint," said Thomas. "I'm just trusting the district that they'll take care of the situation."


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