Amanda Dawkins rallies with Roswell Healthy Schools Support Group, at Pioneer Plaza on Monday.
Roswell Healthy Schools Support Group rallied for two hours at Pioneer Plaza, in conjunction with National Healthy Schools Day on Monday.
â€œThis is our first year (doing this),â€ Nicole Vargas, RHSSG founder, said.â€œWe hope to implement this … to bring awareness to healthy schools and to our childrenâ€™s health.â€
The group, founded by Vargas, claims their children aquired chronic inflammatory response syndrome, as a result of mold from water damaged buildings throughout the Roswell Independent School District.Â RHSSG seeks to get â€œsick kidsâ€ out of local schools and â€œget them educated with district-supplied homebound instruction.â€
Not everyone in the community is on board with RHSSGâ€™s mission. Roswell residents like Gloria Moreno, parent of a Goddard High School student and former graduate of the school herself, believes RHSSGâ€™s mold claims are untrue.Â GHS is one of several schools that RHSSG believes has mold.
â€œI think itâ€™s a bunch of bull,â€ Moreno said. â€œI donâ€™t believe it. I went there, my ex-husband went there. my son went there â€” he graduated in 2007. My daughter is (getting ready) to graduateâ€”none of us have anything.
I honestly donâ€™t believe. I hope (their efforts) backfire on themâ€”to be honest with you …thatâ€™s exactly what I think.â€
In spite of some local skepticism, RHSSG is getting state and national attention from advocates like Tom Ramsey, former co-chair of the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Advisory Board for the New Mexico Department of Health. Ramsey helped push the cityâ€™s 2004 Smoke Air Free Act.
â€œIâ€™ve helped work on clean air ordinances before,â€ he said.Â â€œIâ€™m trying to see what options these folks have available to them. Itâ€™s important. â€œ
Ramsey believes RISD should thoroughly test schools believed to have mold problems.
â€œIf we have a mold problem … I would certainly like to know for sure we have a mold problem,â€ he said. â€œI think (RISD) should allow invasive testing, so that they can find out whether or not they have a mold problem.â€
Ramsey hopes the community takes notice of the rally and RHSSGâ€™s efforts.
â€œThere are folks that have been worried about this problem for a long time, and they have family members that are ill,â€ Ramsey said.Â â€œJust from that perspective as a good neighbor and a good citizen, every Roswell person should be concerned about that. If you really think that these kids are ill from something thatâ€™s going on in the school, everybody should be involved in this.â€
National Healthy Schools Day seeks to promote healthy and green indoor school environments for all children and staff. The day is coordinated by the Healthy Schools Network, in cooperation with U.S. EPA and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International. It promotes the use of the EPAâ€™s IAQ Tools for Schools program.
A call to Roswell Independent School Districtâ€™s superintendentâ€™s office was not immediately returned.