RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Parents and teachers are speaking out after mold issues were reported at several Richmond Schools.
Several parents and teachers came forward at Monday night’s Richmond School Board meeting demanding something be done. Over half a dozen spoke out about the problems they’re seeing as a result of the various mold outbreaks.
Multiple speakers said mold is causing health problems for schools like Boushall Middle School, Clark Springs Elementary School and Woodville Elementary School.
“I find it very disheartening because it’s right here at the beginning of the school year. We’re barely four weeks in and experiencing these issues,” said Lakiesha Williams, a parent who spoke at the meeting.
Williams said her son, who goes to Boushall Middle School, suffers from multiple health issues which she believes have been made worse by the conditions at the school. She claims he even came home one day with mold on his jacket from rubbing against a desk that was covered.
“I’ve had calls from teachers. At first, it was like a concern of, you know, his behavior, and I’m thinking that he was sleeping,” Williams said. “But it resulted that the air quality and things in the air or the mold in the air and on the surfaces was making him sick.”
In response to the concerns from parents like Williams, Richmond School Board Member Kenya Gibson made an emergency motion use left-over pandemic funding to address building issues. The proposal would have also released all recent district-wide mold testing data as well as future plans to tackle the problem.
However, Gibson’s motion failed because multiple other board members said they wanted to see what was already being done to handle the issue.
“For everywhere that we have heard of any issues — and as soon as we have those results — we will share them with everybody involved and take whatever remediation steps are necessary,” said Superintendent Jason Kamras during the meeting.
8News reached out to Richmond Public Schools for more information about which schools have complained about mold so far this year. A spokesperson responded with the following statement:
The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority at Richmond Public Schools. If a mold complaint is received, out of an abundance of caution, we ask the principal to relocate the classroom until the testing is complete and the test results indicate the room is safe. If the testing report indicates high levels of mold, we engage a licensed and certified mold remediation company to clean and remediate the areas. We have not had to do that this school year, as no testing has shown high levels of mold (three schools have been tested for mold this year). Furthermore, to mitigate mold issues, the division responds as quickly as possible to any reports of leaks, as well as replacing ceiling tiles and repairing HVAC systems.Matthew Stanley, the Director of Advocacy and Outreach for Richmond Public Schools
Williams said she just hopes local and even state officials do something sooner rather than later.
“As a parent, I need them to step up. And I’m going to continue to advocate you know, for what needs to be done,” Williams said.
School officials plan to address the issue at their next board meeting on Monday, Sept. 18.