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Preschool with high lead levels ordered to close Friday

A notice suspending the preschool's licence, posted to the front door of Brilliant Minds Academy on May 10, 2018. (KBAK/KBFX)

Brilliant Minds Academy is closing for business.

Dangerously high levels of lead found inside and outside the private preschool posed a risk to child safety, according to the California Department of Social Services, who notified the school on Thursday morning that its licence would be temporarily suspended at close of business on Friday.

RELATED STORY | Preschool not cooperating with Public Health over lead concerns

Kern County Public Health Services discovered the lead in paint, as well as soil next to the infant building and toddler play area.

"This situation poses an immediate health risk to the children attending this academy until the lead hazards are properly abated. Based on the analytical results, it is our recommendation that immediate action be taken to eliminate the risk of lead exposure to other children at this facility," Matt Constantine, director of Kern County public health, wrote in a letter to California Department of Social Services on May 3rd.

The state Community Care Licencing division ordered Brilliant Minds to close in order to protect children in care at the facility from substantial threat to their health and safety," according to the notice the department sent the school Thursday morning.

Brilliant Minds Academy plans to fix the lead contamination as soon as possible and open the school back up, according to a staff member. They posted the "closed for business" order on their front door for parents to see, and are sending letters to parents to notify them of their temporary closing.

The county public health department began testing for lead at the preschool after a child who attended Brilliant Minds came down with a reported case of lead poisoning. After ruling out any lead contamination at the child's home, public health went to the preschool the child attended, where lead testing confirmed the school had unsafe amounts of lead in exterior and interior paint, and outdoor soil. There have been no additional reports of children with lead poising.

The county health department advises parents who sent their children to the school to get them a blood test. Exposure to lead can have harmful effects on the brain, nerves, red blood cells, kidneys and reproductive systems, according to the county department.



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