- Published on Monday, 20 February 2012 14:13
- Written by Josh Williams
LE ROY — The case of the Le Roy twitch, where mostly young teenage girls have come down with Tourette's like symptoms has divided the community at the same time brought closure to an old wound.
The division of the community has occurred in how the parents of the students with the symptoms have handled the situation and the poor response of the school district that created the public relations fiasco.
The old wound that is finally being taken care of occurred in 1970 when a train derailed on the the Lehigh Valley Railroad and leaked cyanide. Earlier in February the EPA conducted a study on the barrels left over from the site and found there to be no leaking contaminates. The barrells will be removed.
"Everyone in the community with questions and concerns needs to come forward and ask them," said Karen Callahan an appointed parent representative on committee to the Le Roy school board. "People need to stop fueling the rumors, and ask questions."
According to Callahan she receives numerous phone calls from concerned parents with questions that range from property tax rates or whether or not it is safe to plant a garden in the spring because of rumored polution.
One of the more vocal local leaders on the issue is Jennifer Keys, a Le Roy Village Board member who has championed support for school officials.
"The school needs to put out factual answers," said Keys. "Officials need to be accessible and not hide behind the lawyer, a lot of this could have been avoided with a better response. That's in the past though and we need to move forward and support eachother."
Many people are unaware that students with Tourette's have been in Le Roy for years, one young woman graduated last year.
The lack of response in the beginning and the aggressive pursuit of national media has fueled the chaos.
According to the New York Post not all of the students are listening to their doctor's orders or even being treated, which is leading to confusion on how the symptoms should be corrected.
"The community is completely divided, people really became panicked," said Callahan. "The finger pointing at the school district is unfair, and the school doesn't deserve that, Le Roy is a great community and I am proud to live here."
So far 18 people have been diagnosed with what is being called a conversion disorder which is a psychological illness. The patients have been instructed to stay away from Facebook and other kids until they can break the symptoms. Then they will be gradually re-introduced back into mainstream society after the begin to drop the symptoms.