Additional student unable to attend Amity
Barbara Kaczur moved to Woodbridge with her daughter Michelle because she thought the town could provide her with better educational opportunities, but Michelle is now the first to admit she cannot grow up with her peers.
In Westville, where Michelle Kaczur attended St. Aedan's, she only missed five school days her last year. At Bethany Junior High School she missed 35 days, and at the senior high school she had already missed 46 days and taken six ambulance rides by Dec. 8 when she became homebound due to the poor air quality conditions at the high school.
"I am disgusted," Michelle Kaczur said. "I can't put a foot into that school."
Michelle Kaczur's symptoms mirrored those of a dozen other students now homebound due to poor environmental conditions in the Amity school system. She would experience headaches, dysfunctional menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain, skin rashes, itchy burning eyes and chest pain, which all started one month after entering Bethany Junior High School. The symptoms would get better on weekends and vacations.
During this tumultuous period the Kaczurs began to receive letters hinting that the school district was planning to file truancy papers against them. They received correspondence pressuring her to go back to school as well as asking them to attend parenting classes.
Barbara Kaczur got in touch with other parents she had been reading about, who also were having similar problems. The Mold Moms Barbara Finneran and Ona Mae Slauson began to give her some guidance.
She took her daughter to allergist Dr. Robert Santelli in December. He ordered various bloodwork to be done and put Michelle Kaczur on homebound status for one month to see if the symptoms would clear up.
The blood tests showed Michelle is allergic to various molds and that she now has food allergies to egg whites, milk, wheat and shrimp.
Many of the females experiencing environmental symptoms are noticing that they are having gynecological problems Barbara Kaczur said. They are experiencing Dysfunctional Menstrual Bleeding which means they are having irregular menstrual cycles. Some girls go 30 days without their period slowing down and then it starts again. Many have been placed on birth control pills and had the dosage doubled. One physician recommended hormone suppression injections she said.
Teachers in the school system that have been pregnant have requested to be moved out of sick rooms and schools.
Homebound student Cassandra Slauson recently was treated for an ovarian cyst.
After being homebound for a month, Michelle's rash disappeared and the headaches significantly lessened. Santelli told her to stay out of the sick buildings and not return, Barbara Kaczur said.
School district not cooperating
Following her 504 hearing, a necessary process to begin homebound status, Michelle was to receive tutoring in English, math, science and biology in her home. However, when it was learned she did not have access to the Internet her classes were relocated to the Woodbridge library. No offer of transporting Michelle was made.
While spending eight hours a week at the library the rash returned. Michelle also developed a burning sore throat and is once again fatigued.
"She is not being desensitized because she is back in a sick environment," Barbara Kaczur said, referring to the library's history of a leaky roof.
In addition, she said the school district is not providing her with sufficient classes to stimulate her. Previously she was taking cooking, child development and gym. She was also receiving special education classes, Barbara Kaczur said.
Last week mom Barbara Kaczur said she received a telephone call asking if Michelle wanted to take Biology at Orange Junior High School campus.
"They want to humiliate her and have her learn something she already took," she said. "They are treating her as if she is the lowest level. They are not preparing her for the world of tomorrow."
Last week Barbara Kaczur stopped to see Pat Varanelli, of pupil services. She left a note for her but she hasn't returned the call.
"I am totally disgusted," Barbara Kaczur said. "A mind is being wasted at a very early age. We don't know what her future consists of now."
"They make no attempt to think outside the box," Finneran said referring to the many students not able to attend classes.
"They took class pictures without Cassandra. They refuse to try to accommodate the kids," Slauson said.
"Under the No Child Left Behind Act at Amity there is a Baker's dozen of children being left behind," Slauson said.
A state agency has begun working closely with the Amity Mold Moms .And has been representing the children in their 504 proceedings Slauson and Finneran said.
"Any parent who has concerns with their child they think is related to the school may call us (Finneran 393-9643 or Slauson 393-189) and we will direct them to the state agency for assistance, they said.
Skrzyniarz refused to comment on Michelle Kaczur and referred the issue to Pat Varanelli who did not respond.
Bridget Albert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 876-6800