When I was PTA President at Manhattan Center for Science and Math high school, we parents learned (from an October 30, 2007 FOX NEWS report) that our school building was sitting directly atop a toxic site, a buried, oozing tank of coal tar left over from the days when our site was home to a coal gassification plant (known as an MGP, or manufactured gas plant). This fact was known by school administration and the DOE who purchased the property in the late 1930s but was never conveyed to current or prospective parents.
At the same time that the School Construction Authority (SCA) was doing major, major renovation to our building, including digging a huge, deep trench on the grounds, we parents were learning that highly carcinogenic coal tars had been leaching under the school yard and FDR Drive and beneath the Harlem River riverbed. We further learned that no substantive indoor air quality testing had been done by the DOE or anyone else in the previous four years, and none for over five years during the winter heating season when windows are closed and the heating system creates negative pressure that draws vapors inward or upward into the building from below that would then be trapped inside and allowed to accumulate.
I'd be curious to know how many parents and/or teachers have expressed such outrage over the horrendous health effects of cupcakes and brownies in their children's schools that the DOE found itself with no recourse but to take swift and decisive action. Apparently, in the DOE mindset, calories are more dangerous than carcinogens to children's health.