Students attending our city’s threadbare educational system are also walking into buildings that might be making them sick. 50 schools are in need of repairs, according to inspections by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers School District and witnessed by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
Officials from the union’s health and welfare fund shared photographs of potential hazards in schools with The Inquirer. The newspaper forwarded the photos to Bruce Lanphear, a professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, and an expert on environmental health risks to children.
“These photos indicate chronic, long-standing problems that are due to water damage and inadequate maintenance,” Lanphear said. “These are serious deficiencies and most likely health hazards.”
He added: “It is sad that the schools in one of the leading cities in the United States have been allowed to deteriorate to this level.”
Repairing all the schools would take an estimated $4 billion, according to a school official, but it’s not clear how much it would take to make the critical repairs that would prevent the sorts of anecdotes in the article about teachers routinely falling ill to mold-induced sickness. Overbrook High alone needed $32 million in repairs.
Just in case you haven’t fully processed what’s happening yet in our resource-starved district: 32 30 schools have been closed in the past two years, the district has no money, kids get assaulted walking home through unfamiliar neighborhoods, speculation that a lack of nurses may have allowed a student to die of asthma made national news, there are almost no guidance counselors to prevent the psychological trauma of growing up in urban warzones from festering inside students’ brains into frightening Raisin in the Sun scenarios, and kids are getting physically sick just from being inside educational buildings. [Philly.com]