For those of you unfamiliar with Lexington Richland School District Five, it’s one of the most one of the most cash-hungry, scandal-plagued and overtly-duplicitous districts in the entire state … which is saying something in scandal-scarred South Carolina.

Sadly this pattern of deception is now doing more than costing tax dollars … it’s endangering the health of students.

Two weeks ago workers in protective suits were spotted removing asbestos from Chapin High School during school hours. This information was passed along to school board member Kim Murphy – one of our 2011 Taxpayer Heroes – who promptly called the district’s superintendent and demanded answers.

Superintendent Stephen W. Hefner didn’t return Murphy’s call – he had the district’s spokesman Buddy Price handle that chore. And Price’s answer was simple: No asbestos was being removed from Chapin High School during school hours.

A few days later, however, the district changed its tune.

Apparently asbestos was being removed from the school after all … and the project was taking place during school hours.

Ruh-roh …

Murphy says she’s disappointed the district misled her – particularly on an issue involving student safety – but not surprised given Price’s long history of providing public misinformation on multiple issues.

More importantly, we’ve spoken to several parents in the northwest Columbia, S.C. area who are furious that such a project would be undertaken without their knowledge or consent.

We can’t blame them for being upset …

We’ve long known that South Carolina’s public schools are toxic to students’ futures … apparently they’re toxic to their health, too.