Carnell Elementary remains closed while workers make repairs due to disturbed asbestos found

Carnell Elementary has been closed indefinitely while workers make repairs due to disturbed asbestos found.

Parents, educators and community members came out for a contentious meeting with school district officials Friday about its plan to deal with disturbed asbestos at Carnell Elementary in Northeast Philadelphia.

"I'm asking you did you see it. Did you see it?" screamed Michael Sturdivant. Many demanded to know why they were just made aware of it before the holiday break in December. They believed officials knew about it long before.

Brittany West has a son in fourth grade at Carnell where officials say they found damage to asbestos-containing pipe insulation.

"Ten times out of ten he's not coming back," said West.

Officials decided kids would not return from winter break Thursday and Friday, closing the school both days. On Friday, they announced the school would not reopen Monday.

"I'm appreciative that they had the meeting to kind of open the floor but we see this all the time and it's unfortunate that this is what happens in our community," said West.

Officials say over the holiday workers repaired about 13 of 14 areas in the school deemed imminent hazards. They say Monday the work will continue.

"Our students are black and brown and mostly poor. If we were in the suburbs the school would be shut down and it wouldn't be open until it was safe. This would never happen in Lower Merion and why is it happening over and over again in the School District of Philadelphia?" said Katrina Clark, a teacher and member of the Caucus of Working Educators.

Many say some of the areas of the school in question now were previously on a list of high priority concerns.

"A lot of things get listed as high priority for potential removal. The imminent hazards are what have to be addressed. I can't go back to 2017 and recreate two years. I can't do that," said Jim Creedon, with Facilities, Capital Projects and Environmental Issues.“We have a renewed effort on this issue. We're focused on it."

Officials say the plan is to notify parents day-to-day after Monday as to when school will reopen.

For more information, please visit the School District of Philadelphia's website.

RELATED: Asbestos forces another Philadelphia school to close; district reveals plan to address concerns | Community leaders protest after asbestos discovered in Philadelphia schools | Union calls for immediate $100M for asbestos, lead abatement in Philly schools | 2 Philadelphia elementary schools to remain closed due to asbestos | Parents, teachers demand answers about asbestos in Philadelphia schools


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