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Testing students for elevated lead levels

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The Greater Indianapolis NAACP announced a partnership with the Marion County Public Health Department and Indianapolis Public Schools to offer free lead testing for all kindergarten and first-grade IPS students, including students at mayor-sponsored charter schools. Physicians had tested students at 20 schools as of April 24 and will continue testing through the end of the school year.

The county health department released the results of a survey of county schools in January that showed 161 of the 297 facilities tested were in violation of Environmental Protection Agency standards for lead levels in drinking water. Affected schools took corrective measures such as replacing water fountains and adding filters.

To test for lead in students, physicians will collect a small amount of blood through a skin prick, according to a press release from the NAACP. Parents must give their permission and should check with their students’ schools to learn more.

“We know that children exposed to lead can have difficulty paying attention, learning to read and following classroom rules,” IPS Board of School Commissioners member Elizabeth Gore said in the release. “If possible, children should be tested as toddlers — long before they’re in an IPS classroom.”

A public service announcement will run three times a day April 27-May 27 on WTLC-FM, WTLC-AM, WHHH and WNOW. Students with elevated lead levels will receive further assistance from the Marion County Public Health Department. Testing will resume next school year.

TESTING SCHEDULE:

• May 6 — George S. Buck School 94

• May 8 — George Washington Carver School 87

• May 13 — George W. Julian School 57, IPS/Butler University Lab School 60

• May 14 — James Russell Lowell School 51

• May 15 — Meredith Nicholson School 96

• May 16 — Jonathan Jennings School 109

• May 20 — Louis B. Russell Jr. School 48, James Whitcomb Riley School 43

• May 21 — James A. Garfield School 31, Lew Wallace School 107

• May 28 — Anna Brochhausen School 88, Arlington Woods School 99

• May 29 — Brookside School 54, Joyce Kilmer School 69

• May 30 — Paul I. Miller School 114, William Penn School 49

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