Parents, teachers call on lawmakers to address asbestos in Philadelphia schools

Parents and teachers continue to voice their frustrations regarding local school closures over asbestos.

On Tuesday night, environmental services crews were seen tossing concealed bags from McClure Elementary School inside their trucks.

McClure is one of many schools that remain closed following the discovery of asbestos.

Plastic could be seen hanging from the ceiling in the school hallways.

Down the street, FOX 29 cameras were not allowed inside the meeting about asbestos Tuesday night, where parents say school board members shared their plan of attack. 

“Y'all basically waited until everything got out of control so it’s just like now our kids got to suffer because of a mistake that should have been corrected,” said Deante Smith, a father to kindergarten and second-grade students. 

“It’s sickening. It's sad,” said Domonique Robinson. “It’s like, does anybody really care about our children?”

Robinson worries for the future of her four children. Her son, second-grader Rodney, was supposed to be back in class on Jan. 2 but like his classmates, he is being kept out until Jan. 13.

“They say they care about our kids but if they did care about our kids, this should have been fixed when they picked it up,” said Robinson. 


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Carnell parent Rishawn Reynolds talks about the impact the facilities crisis is having on her child and family. (Philadelphia Federation of Teachers)

The School District of Philadelphia is scrambling to patch up troublesome asbestos.

At least six schools remain shut down. Parents say they want answers before even thinking about sending their kids back inside the building. 

“There is no way they should want us to send our kids into an atmosphere that’s not even safe,” said Smith. 

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan is among those calling on state lawmakers to allocate the $170 million PFT says it needs to address the asbestos issue.

Meanwhile, parents and teachers are preparing for another public meeting Thursday night with officials at Roberto Clemente Middle School.

The results of the district's air quality tests for both schools can be found here when available.

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