The Overlooked 9/11 Survivors: Students and Teachers
School officials of New York City have a message for students, teachers and staffers who spent time in Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks and months that followed: If you were in the NYC “Exposure Zone”, your health may be at risk – even if you currently don’t have any symptoms.
Through this campaign, officials will alert as many as 2,500 staffers and 19,000 former public school children about how they may qualify for health screenings and treatment through the World Trade Center Health Program and a financial award through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund eligibility extends to include individuals of Lower Manhattan who were present in the NYC “Exposure Zone” between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. Officials say they will send information on these potentially lifesaving resources to every student and staffer exposed to 9/11-related toxins.
“One week after 9/11, there were schools in the zone that were open, and we are talking about children in first grade coming back to school with a nice new backpack because we were told by the EPA that everything was fine,” United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew said. Mr. Mulgrew and the UFT recently hosted an informational seminar on 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund eligibility and the World Trade Center Health Program at their headquarters in Lower Manhattan. Phil Alvarez, the new Director of 9/11 Outreach & Education for Turley Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, attended with a group of our 9/11 attorneys.
When the planes struck the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of people inside classrooms – including those at Stuyvesant High School, near the World Trade Center – fled for their lives. As if that day were not traumatic enough, there’s another burden these people might not be aware of: Many 9/11 survivors are still being diagnosed with cancer and struggling with breathing and digestive problems as well as post-traumatic stress disorders. And these illnesses may be fatal.
Right now, New York City’s Department of Education is launching a new global outreach campaign in an effort to alert this group of 9/11 survivors about potential health threats and to publicize where they can find support if they need it, according to “City & State New York.”
All too many 9/11 survivors breathed in scores of contaminants in the NYC “Exposure Zone” in what’s now concluded to have been a lethal mix of toxic dust, jet fuel, and noxious fumes, among other harmful substances. At the time, they were not warned to stay away. Instead, the students and teachers were encouraged to return.
Christine Todd Whitman, who headed up the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, declared the air “safe to breathe,” only to concede years later that she was wrong, according to “The Guardian.” Rudy Giuliani, who served as New York City’s mayor, urged people “to go back to normal,” adding that the atmosphere where the towers once stood was “safe as far as we can tell, with respect to chemical and biological agents,” according to “New York Magazine.”
So, in the aftermath of the attacks, people returned to the classrooms, ranging from public schools to colleges, such as Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) near Ground Zero.
While a number of those exposed to Ground Zero toxins have since taken ill and died, some are just beginning to report health symptoms. Many were not screened for 9/11-related illnesses, unaware that there are programs available that could help them – and that they might qualify. Our firm provides the resources and education needed to help 9/11 survivors navigate the World Trade Center Health Program.
Over the years, there’s been a big push to encourage 9/11 first responders – firefighters, police, and emergency medical workers – to seek assistance. And more than 80 percent of the 91,000 first responders and others who worked at Ground Zero have signed up for the World Trade Center Health Program. Yet only 5.25 percent of the 400,000 9/11 survivors, including those who went to school in the area, have signed up. Students and teachers have for the most part not been the focus of the outreach effort. Until now.
As New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is quoted in “City & State”: “We are committed to not stopping until we reach every person and every single one of them signs up.”
Give us a call today at 1-800-887–7299. A member of our team of highly qualified James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 lawyers is ready to give you help and guidance in filing a claim with the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. To learn more about 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund eligibility, click here. To learn more about the World Trade Center Health Program, visit our website. We have been helping 9/11 survivors get the compensation and care they rightfully deserve since 2001, and are ready and able to give you and your family this same support.Posted under: 9/11 Victim Compensation, Uncategorized