I am the advisor to West Orange High School's student newspaper, The Pioneer. My Editor-in-Chief, Anna Favetta, is the student who researched the topic and wrote the article bringing this issue to light. She worked on the article for 4 months before she had adequate and proper information for it to go to print.
An article on the BOE presentation of the findings was published on TAP on May 9, written by Alan Grossman. In that article, there are some errors that I wanted to bring to your attention:
1. It wasn't just 53 rooms that were found to exceed 1000 ppm in the building, it was 53 of the 93 rooms they tested that had levels over 1000 ppm. Mr. Grossman's article makes it seem like only 53 rooms in the entire building had high measurements, but not all rooms were tested.
2. In addition, and more importantly, the issue did not come "to the fore after frequent complaints by students and teachers," but ONLY after Anna's article ran in our newspaper. She should've been credited in Mr. Grossman's article; a link and a comment to see an "article written on the subject" really aren't sufficient to accurately pose what happened. After Anna's article was published, parents posted a link and commented about it on the West Orange 411 Facebook page. From there, BOE president Ron Charles read the article and took immediate action to have rooms tested.
3. The article was really quite "surface''; there was so much more detail that could've been put into it, especially because the findings of the outside company directly impact the health and wellness of students, faculty, staff, and every other person that enters our doors every day. This is a HUGE deal in our school — and all because of one student and journalism.
I'm very protective of my students and their efforts. I just wanted to communicate to you that what was published in your paper was not thoroughly accurate. What Anna's article did was bring about REAL change for all people who "live" within this building each day; it is a direct illustration of the power of the free press. What happened with this situation is unprecedented here at WOHS and I cannot put into words how happy I am for Anna and all of her hard work and the results that came of it. I'm sure you understand my disappointment in Mr. Grossman's article.
Thank you for listening,