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Students, staff at Monroe school question if classrooms are making them sick

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MONROE, Wash. -- It's a mysterious problem. Students at Sky Valley Education Center in Monroe are complaining about illnesses they can’t explain.

“Headache, respiratory, tummy aches, those type of things,” Monroe Public Schools spokeswoman Rosemary O’Neil said.

Since September, there has been eight complaints.

The concern is that something in the classrooms is causing people to get sick.

“I know there are families who have noticed that,” parent Gina Dahlinger said.

“I am saddened by the illnesses they have faced,” parent Katrina Fraser said.

The recent cases are from a pod of six classrooms.

“We've been proactive by removing the carpets in the classrooms,” O’Neil said.

In 2014, the alternative school received similar complaints.

“We were very concerned about it. We brought in a testing company and no contaminants were found,” O’Neil said.

No contaminants -- but experts did determine the heating and ventilation system needed an adjustment.

The latest eight cases were reported after that fix so the district is now working with an environmental firm hoping to find the root of the problem.

“We feel the district is doing everything possible,” Fraser said.

“They are checking in with us all the time to let us know updates; they are doing a great job,” parent Rene Tobin said.

Most of the parents Q13 News spoke with on Wednesday say they stand behind the district's decision not to shut down the classrooms involved.

“We have four students, so we are not worried about their health or our health,” Fraser said.

But for parents who may be worried, they have the choice to move their kids.

“Accommodations have been made for all those families, they can choose a different class,” Dahlinger said.

The school is assessing the entire building, not just the six that may be involved. The district says they hope to have answers in about a month.