Students hold protest over lead levels at Jordan High School in Watts

On Monday, students, parents, and community leaders in Watts started the 2022-23 school year by protesting outside Jordan High School in Watts because they deem the school as "toxic" and unsafe due to elevated lead levels as a result of a recycling center nearby.

At the end of the previous school year, 100 students at the South Los Angeles school sent a letter to city leaders and demanded that they take action to make the school safe for students and staff. They also reached out to regulators including the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Los Angeles Departments of Public Health and Building Safety.

In a press release, protesters said when students and staff return to campus Monday, they "will be met with lead levels 75x higher than what the EPA defines as a hazardous threshold." In addition, they alleged metal shrapnel has been launched over the fence and onto campus grounds.

Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Tanya Ortiz released the following statement in support of the protest:

"Students at Jordan High School deserve a learning environment free from fear of toxic substances and potential projectiles that can affect their health, safety, and learning. I am grateful to our community advocates for amplifying public pressure on this unsafe situation as school begins today."