Children often complain they’re allergic to school. But Cassandra Slauson, who attended Amity Regional Junior High School in Bethany, Conn., meant it literally. Soon after her first day of classes in September 2001, the formerly healthy girl began to experience severe respiratory infections, fevers and rashes. Her parents blamed it on the school’s mold problems.

Slauson and seven classmates, along with their parents, sued the regional school district and the contractors it hired to clean up the mold and fungus contamination, which pervaded the school’s music and tech-ed wings and spread throughout the now-demolished building.