The city should conduct outreach for the thousands of students and school staffers exposed to dangerous conditions around Ground Zero following 9/11, two councilmen said on the 18th anniversary of the terror attacks.
“On this 9/11 anniversary we must honor the memories of those who have fallen, and also fight for survivors who continue to suffer the deadly health effects of this tragic event,” Councilmen Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) and Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) said in a joint statement. “One group of survivors has consistently gotten too little attention: the students, teachers, and staff who were at schools near Ground Zero during the months following the attack, a time when the air remained contaminated.”
The United Federation of Teachers estimates 2,500 teachers and support staff and 19,000 students attended 29 public schools in the part of lower Manhattan covered by the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical monitoring and treatment for first responders and those who lived, worked or went to school in that area.
The plight of students and faculty at one school near Ground Zero is the subject, “In The Shadow of the Towers: Stuyvesant High on 9/11,” an HBO documentary debuting this week One Stuyvesant High School 9/11 survivor and advocate said the film was irresponsible for leaving out health impacts many of her classmates have suffered.
Levine and Treyger introduced a bill in May that would require the city departments of education and health to reach out to anyone enrolled in or employed by schools within one and one-half miles of Ground Zero during the 2001-2002 school year. The goal is to educate them about the benefits they’re entitled to through the World Trade Center Health Program and Victims Compensation Fund.
“We must do everything in our power to support the education community — and all those harmed — in the worst attack in our nation’s history,” Levine and Treyger said.