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Letter to the Editor

William Paca school is too hot for pupils

This letter to the editor was also addressed to Jacqueline C. Haas, the Harford County superintendent of education:

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I am writing to you in regard to the conditions at William Paca Elementary School in Abingdon.

I am not normally one to complain, but when it comes to my children that is where I draw the line. William Paca is entirely too hot and has no air conditioning, except in one classroom per grade level. Yes, it does have air conditioning in the administrators' offices, media center and computer lab. The excuse being used is the computers need the air or they will not work.

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Well, here again is a big surprise - the classrooms have computers and the hallways have the printers for those computers. I do know for a fact those printers and computers were out of order because of the heat. Well that is clearly sending the message that the school board does not care about the children, that they only care about their computers.

My son had to leave early because he overheated and threw up while eating lunch in the extremely hot cafeteria. My son also attends YMCA day care and he threw up and had to go home because of heat exhaustion.

That day that I picked him up he was very sweaty it looked as though he went swimming he was so wet. Devin was very weak and not feeling well at all. I made it maybe 2 miles to the snowball stand on Route 40; he was throwing up and so weak that he could barely stand.

Had it not been for the quick action of myself and the snowball stand employee who poured cold water over his head and got his temperature down, then we would have had to take him to the hospital. I did call the ER and ask them what to do and they advised me of the signs to look out for. Think to yourself, would you want this happening to your children or grandchildren?

Another thing, what happened to the motto no child left behind. Well Ms. Haas as I see it that does count for the kids who can't keep up because they are either in the nurses office or in the ER because of heat exhaustion. That will and does leave children behind. Every time I pick him up from the day care in the overheated cafeteria he is drenched with sweat and weak. This is no matter how much Gatorade or water I send and he drinks.

The cafeteria is overheated and has nowhere for the kids to cool off. I am also aware that 39 children had to go to the nurse during the school's field day because of heat exhaustion. That to me, Ms. Haas, is not the way it should be. I know for a fact that there are three unused, donated A/C units in the school that are not being used. That school is entirely too hot for the kids to concentrate and get their school work completed. It is a health hazard.

Please explain it to me so I will understand why is it that HCPS can not close William Paca Elementary School due to heat, when Baltimore County/City closes schools for heat-related reasons. Is it the fact that William Paca is a Title I school?

The ones making the decisions are sitting in their air-conditioned offices while our children are suffering in the overheated, poor-conditioned school and getting sent home from heat exhaustion. Here's a thought: Why not get a few of the people making the choice to make our children suffer and keep them in the school get out of their air-conditioned offices and come work in the overheated school for eight hours a day for a week and we will see how quickly things will change.

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I have contacted the school board and school two years ago and nothing has been done. That is why I felt it best to take this route.

There are a few other conditions that need to be reported at the school. There are bugs/ ants in, around and near students' desks and around different areas of their classrooms.

There is tar dripping from ceiling in the cafeteria, hallways and classrooms. The tar dripping from the ceilings has dripped in children's food and has gotten into their hair and on their clothes. I am again a witness to this; I got tar in my hair. I am sure there are other things that I have forgotten, so please be assured that I will write with these conditions.

Melissa Kossakowski

Edgewood


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