Teachers in Baltimore have implored the city to shut down all public schools until heating issues at the buildings are resolved.
The Baltimore Teachers Union said the city should close all Baltimore City Public Schools until it has repaired the heating problems that have left children shivering and have already close some of the buildings, the Baltimore Sun reported.
“I implore that you close schools in the District until your facilities crew has had time to properly assess and fix the heating issues within the affected schools in Baltimore City,” Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English said in a letter delivered to the Baltimore Schools CEO Sonja Santelises on Wednesday.
English also said the school district cannot expect teachers to work in buildings with “bursting boilers, drafty windows, frigid temperatures in classrooms.”
Baltimore schools def closed today for the winter storm, but the rest of the time, many are going without heat!… https://t.co/AjdPPW0oiB
— Unity & Struggle-NYC (@UandSNYC) January 4, 2018
The city school system closed four schools all day Wednesday — including elementary schools — and dismissed students early from two more due to heating problems, though parents, teachers and students said the problems were far more widespread across BCPS buildings.
I am a Baltimore City Public School teacher This was the temperature in my classroom this morning and we are still in the school building pic.twitter.com/QAm493mTrH
— Jeffrey San Filippo (@JeffSanFilippo) January 2, 2018
Anaija Bishop, a 16-year-old freshman at Frederick Douglass High School, attended school on Wednesday with a fleece blanket wrapped around her puffy coat because it was so cold inside the building, before pipe and water issues forced an early dismissal.
“The district needs to think about how cold we are and how sick we can get,” Bishop said.
“I wish [district officials] could come feel how it is inside our building,” a student at another BCPS school told The Sun. “It’s too cold. How are you supposed to study for midterms when you’re shaking?”
— City Bloc (@bccbloc) January 5, 2016
So far, the district has responded to complaints at about 60 of its schools, which accounts for around one-third of its buildings.
The BCPS CEO, Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, has acknowledged that “too many of our buildings have outdated heating systems, poor insulation, and aging pipes as a result of years of inadequate funding for maintenance and facilities improvements.”