Los Angeles school officials have decided to remove soil with high levels of lead contamination from two schools in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that soil will be replaced in a front lawn and around a tree at Lorena Street Elementary in Boyle Heights and around two trees at Rowan Avenue Elementary in East Los Angeles.

Last year, the state Department of Toxic Substance Control found high levels of lead at schools near the closed Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon. Last week –and just in time for the return of students to LAUSD schools– officials fenced off lawns at Lorena and other three schools. Two days later, officials at Lorena notified parents about the measure taken.

The Times reported that some parents have complained about not being notified earlier about the high levels of the metal –which is known to cause brain damage in children– and that many complained to the office of Assemblyman Miguel Santiago. On Monday, Santiago met with school and state officials at Lorena Street Elementary School.

The school district is expected to draft a cleanup plan that must be approved by state regulators. Soil removal at the two schools is expected to be done within the next two months.

Antonio Mejías-Rentas is a Senior Editor at Boyle Heights Beat, where he mentors teenage journalists, manages the organization’s website and covers local issues. A veteran bilingual journalist, he's...

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