Friday, December 17, 2021


On Thursday, December 9, 2021. I tried to interview School Superintendent Dr. Timothy Forson about a children's health and environmental justice issue -- moldy contaminated wrestling mats at St. Augustine High School. 

Dr. Forson ducked my questions, said it would be "inappropriate" to remove and replace mold-contaminated wrestling mats, but would not explain why.  

Dr. Forson said, "I'm done," turned his back and walked away. 

No class.  

I also spoke with St. Johns County School Board Chairman Patrick Canan, who is reading EPA'S mold guidance documents.  Mr. Canan is a respected personal injury attorney who will hopefully talk some sense into Dr. Forson, this smarmy schoolmarm who shows contempt for human rights of St. Johns County students. 

Wrestling mats must be removed and replaced, with instructions to store them in a cool, dry place -- not in showers or the cafeteria. 

Since 1981, I've been speaking out on environmental health issues.  In Anderson County, Tennessee, we closed two junior high schools for removal of friable asbestos.  

It was after the arrogant hick hack corrupt school superintendent, Paul Eugene Bostic, Sr., ordered six (6) students and two (2) coaches to hack asbestos off the ceiling at Lake City Junior High School, without personal protective equipment (PPE) --- ignoring EPA guidance documents he had received.  (Lake City has been renamed Rocky Top, as requested by a developer).

We, the People, supported by our Appalachian Observer newspaper, of which I was editor, attended School Board and County Commission meetings, helped elect a new County Attorney, re-elect a reform District Attorney and County Commissioners, and passed a referendum providing for direct election of the Anderson County School Superintendent.

Mutatis mutandis,  the asbestos was removed from Norwood Junior High School and Clinton Junior High School -- legally, properly with PPE and negative air pressure, wetting the asbestos down.

Here are my e-nails to Dr. Forson:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>
Sent: Fri, Dec 10, 2021 10:51 am
Subject: Environmental Justice and Children's Health: St. Augustine High School mold-contaminated wrestling mats -- environmental health hazard must be remedied. Now, please.

Dear Dr. Forson:

  1. Article IX, Section 1 of our Florida Constitution relates to public education and provides that “[t]he education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education . . . “. That is, Florida school children are constitutionally guaranteed a safe and secure school.
  2. Article I, Section 24 of our Florida Constitution make access to government records a constitutional right.
  3. You as our St. Johns County School Superintendent have failed to act on mold-contaminated wrestling mats used by St. Augustine High School Wrestling Team, which is 1/3 African-American.
  4. Your refusal to speak respectfully to Mr. Griffin and me December 9, 2021 after the redistricting meeting is consistent with prior bad acts of a mismanaged school system that has repeatedly violated constitutional rights, remedied by federal courts in school desegregation, transgender bathroom and compelled religious song-singing cases.  The facts established in all of these cases embarrass our County and its citizens, and show the school system's contempt for the Rule of Law
  5. Mr. Griffin and I both spoke with our School Board Chairman Patrick Canan after the redistricting meeting.
  6. Mr. Canan told me he will be reading the EPA guidance document on mold. 
  7. You said December 9, 2021 that removing and replacing the mats would be "inappropriate," never denying the mold-contaminated wrestling mats had been stored in showers.
  8. You have never denied that a threat that was made to the cancel the season if mats were removed and replaced.
  9. You told me "I'm done."  
  10. You were unfriendly, lacking in empathy, acting like an unhappy energumen who refuses to answer questions or explain his actions on environmental health issues.  
  11. You lack.a welcoming spirit to inquiry and scientific discussion about environmental health. 
  12. You would not engage in any science-based discussion of mold contamination.
  13. You were insouciant, impolite, unkind and uncouth, acting like one of those authoritarian Appalachian "school dictators" that Harry Caudill wrote about in Night Comes to the Cumberlands. 
  14. This is not a good look for our St. Johns County School Board.  
  15. On a day when President Biden convened an international conference on preserving democracy, you showed contempt for democracy and our Florida Constitutional Right to Know.  See Florida Constitution, Article I, Section 24.  
  16. You acted like an angry, intolerant cognitive miser,
  17. There is no excuse for your unscientific and condescending hostility, 
  18. There is no excuse for your Jim Crow or Apartheid or Third World bad attitude shown toward St. Augustine High School and its Wrestling Team,
  19. You literally turned your back and walked away from  concerns about environmental health concerns affecting African-American student wrestlers.
  20. This is the poorest high school in St. Johns County.
  21. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said St. Johns County was the "most lawless" in America.
  22. The 1971 consent decree could be reviewed and revived if discrimination persists.
  23. Expecting SAHS Wrestling Team to practice on mold-contamianted mats is indefensible.  and most be ended at once.
  24. EPA and Department of Education Office for Civil Rights can determine that this violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and raises Environmental Justice concerns under Executive Orders 12898 and 14008, 
  25. I spoke with our EPA Region IV Environmental Justice and Children's Health Section Chief in Atlanta and have shared this e-mail with him.
  26. Please speak to legal counsel, and Chairman Canan and meet with us to discuss resolution.
  27. Your stating "I'm done" and walking away showed a lack of professional courtesy. manners, conscience and character.
  28. "Character Counts," as St. Johns County School system teachea students in every grade.
  29. No public educational institution should be "run as a dictatorship," as my mother once wrote her New Jersey county college president on behalf of her secretaries' union.
  30. Kindly remove and replace the mold-contaminated mats instanter.
  31. Please answer my questions (below) today.
  32. Kindly provide the requested documents today.
  33. Our St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners Chairman, I. Henry Dean, is an environmental lawyer and former state government environmental official with four decades of experience, including work for five Governors.  Chairman Dean was a high school wrestler in Iowa. Chairman Dean told me that he "would not set foot" on a mold-contaminated wrestling mat. 
  34. Would you wrestle on these mats, Dr. Forson?  
  35. Why should any student ever again be asked to wrestle on mold-contaminated mats that are stored in showers?
  36. Florida students have a right to safe schools, which you are violating every single day at SAHS.  Florida Constitution, Article IX, Section 1.
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,


-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Slavin <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>
Sent: Wed, Dec 8, 2021 9:41 am
Subject: Re: St. Augustine High School mold-contaminated wrestling mats -- environmental health hazard must be remedied. Now, please.

Dear Dr. Foreson:
1. When will the mold-contaminated SAHS wrestling mats be replaced?
2. Please send purchase order documents today. 
3. No more disrespect, delays or disdain are desired or required.  
4. Have you seen photos?  
5. Have you personally gone to SAHS and inspected the mats? 
6. Have you evaluated or corrected our School Board staff's  unresponsiveness and hauteur?
7. We look forward to speaking with you tomorrow morning after our decennial redistricting special meeting.  Perhaps we can have coffee with you.
8. Please respond today to the specific points in my e-mail today, below, e.g., re: removal and replacement of the mold-contaminated mats, improper storage of mats in showers, need for system-side training and workshop on understanding, preventing and abating environmental health hazards. 
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim Forson <>
To: Ed Slavin <>
Cc: <>; Patrick Canan <>; <>; Beverly Slough <>; Tony E. Coleman <>; <>; Kelly D. Barrera <>; Paul Abbatinozzi <>; Quinterrance J. Cooper <>; Dearmas L. Graham <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; Frank Upchurch <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; C Whitehurst <>; P Waldron <>; J Blocker <>; H Dean <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>
Sent: Wed, Dec 8, 2021 8:46 am
Subject: Re: St. Augustine High School mold-contaminated wrestling mats -- environmental health hazard must be remedied. Now, please.

Dear Mr. Slavin,
The concern regarding the SAHS wrestling mats have been addressed by the school and district staff. Any requests for information by Mr. Griffin will be processed in a reasonable time frame. 

From: Ed Slavin <>
Sent: Wednesday, December 8, 2021 6:18:49 AM
To: Tim Forson <>
Cc: <>; Patrick Canan <>; <>; Beverly Slough <>; Tony E. Coleman <>; <>; Kelly D. Barrera <>; Paul Abbatinozzi <>; Quinterrance J. Cooper <>; Dearmas L. Graham <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; Frank Upchurch <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; C Whitehurst <>; P Waldron <>; J Blocker <>; H Dean <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>;  <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>; <>
Subject: St. Augustine High School mold-contaminated wrestling mats -- environmental health hazard must be remedied. Now, please.
CAUTION:    This email originated from outside of the organization.   Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe. Please report suspicious or potentially dangerous emails using the "Phish Alert Button".
Dear Dr. Forson:
1. Would you as our St. Johns County School Superintendent please be so kind as to remove and replace the mold-contaminated wrestling mats at St. Augustine High School on an expedited, urgent, emergency basis?
2. Mr. Gene Griffin is the father of one of the wrestling team members subjected to this hazardous condition.  You have his photos.  You have his Open Records requests. Please provide him with all requested documents by close of business today.
3. I am hoping that Mr. Griffin might be free to attend the joint special School Board meeting on decennial redistricting with our County Commission tomorrow morning, December 9, 2021, and to speak with you and me after the meeting adjourns.
4. Please arrange for system-wide training for all responsible school personnel on the urgency of understanding, preventing and abating environmental health hazards.
5. Please arrange for a future School Board workshop on understanding, preventing and abating environmental health hazards.
6. I am sure that you, our School Board and learned counsel will all agree that it is a breach of the applicable standard of care to store wrestling mats in showers.  As it is irrefragable that wrestling mats are being stored in showers, someone, somehow, somewhere has been negligent.
7. Please see that wrestling mats are no longer stored in showers, from this day forward. 
Happy holidays!
Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am, 

-----Original Message-----
From: Lee Griffin <>
To:; 'Paul Abbatinozzi' <>; 'Quinterrance J. Cooper' <>; Dearmas L. Graham <>
Cc:;; 'Beverly Slough' <>;;;; Ed Slavin <>
Sent: Tue, Dec 7, 2021 9:14 pm
Subject: moldy mats at first day of practice at st augustine highschool

Take a good look at the moldy mats above, would you exercise on them?
Nothing has happened to the moldy mats since the first day of wrestling practice. This is a gross intentional violation  of EPA guidelines.
Does any of you take responsibility for my child’s or his teammates health as they rub their bodies all  over these nasty , mold ridden mats gathering mold spore by mold spore every practice?
What is the matter with you people?
Now it is public record that st Augustine HS has moldy mats stored in showers. ( NAME ONE OTHER HIGH SCHOOL IN THE NATION DOES THIS?)  There is no excuses now pretending  like these moldy mats do not exist or that moldy mats stored in showers is common practice.
Lord stonewall tried to stare/bully  me down, he was put in his place. Take a look at the pictures Lord, that will clear up your confusion concerning the moldy mats
Your lack of concern for the health and safety of your students particularly my boy is an embarrassment for your school district.
Is there anyone in a position of power in your school district that cares?

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