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Student and Parents Want to Know: Where’s the Soap?

While the city’s Department of Education (DOE) has been promoting free inoculations to protect students against the swine flu, at least one Canarsie school has been lacking until recently in a more common defense, soap and paper towels, according to the parents of a student at the school.

Neal Duncan, the president of the United Canarsie South Civic Association (UCSCA) complained during the group’s October meeting that both soap and towels were missing in action at Public School/Intermediate School 66, 845 East 96th Street, which his seventh-grade son attends.

“I spoke to somebody, and they told me the custodian has the budget for paper towels and anything that has to do with the bathroom,” Duncan told the group gathered in the auditorium at the Hebrew Educational Society, 9502 Seaview Avenue. “If they feel they could use the money somewhere else, for overtime or whatever, they can use it.”

Duncan — who wondered if it would be possible for hand sanitizer dispensers to be placed atthe school — said his son had expressed concern that he would be more susceptible to germs, without soap and paper towels available.

“He said to me, dad, how can I stop from getting swine flu or other diseases, if I don’t have soap and paper towels?” Duncan reported.

Duncan’s wife echoed the concern. Despite worries about the H1N1 virus, “They’re not taking preventive measures,” Juliet Duncan contended, in a subsequent interview.

Margie Feinberg, a DOE spokesperson, said that two recent checks at the school had indicated nothing amiss.

“The district official for Facilities inspected 66K on Thursday and everything was in order,” she reported in an email, adding, “He also went to the school this afternoon. He said all the bathrooms have soap, hand towels and toilet paper. He checked supplies in all the bathrooms located in classrooms and along the hallways on all the floors. Everything was in order.

“The principal was unaware of any complaints about inadequate supplies or cleanliness issues in the bathrooms,” Feinberg concluded.

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