GRPS promises transparency in asbestos probe

Grand Rapids
North Park Elementary Asbestos 2_1550376773975.jpg.jpg

An undated photo of North Park Montessori School in Grand Rapids.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools reassured parents Tuesday that they will be open and upfront as they investigate possible asbestos exposure at an elementary school.

“We are going to be transparent with that information,” district spokesman John Helmholdt said. “We’re going to do everything we can to ensure our stakeholders that we are in compliance. That we learned from this mistake. Because that’s what this was. It was an error that occurred. We’re still determining how and where that occurred, and from there we’re going to work to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

The promise came at a meeting for parents to provide updates on the situation at North Park Montessori, which was shut down in February amid concerns about asbestos exposure during construction. The situation has been blamed on a breakdown in communication.

All but one test has come back negative for asbestos. Testing still needs to be finalized.

Because of the contamination, some things needed to be thrown out, including papers, school projects and art, plus students’ and staff members’ clothing, shoes, and boots.

The school says cleaning will be finished by June 14. The school will reopen next fall.

Questions and concerns regarding the situation at North Park Montessori can be sent to

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