Chesterfield teacher, worried about Legionella bacteria discovery, demands action

Taking Action

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A teacher from Chesterfield County Public Schools spoke with 8News Friday after she learned that Legionella bacteria was discovered at her school.

The teacher, who will be referred to as Jane, said she’s scared to speak out about her concerns because she is worried about losing her job.

“You don’t look at it, you don’t see it, and you don’t know about it,” Jane said. “And that’s the scariest part.”

The Chesterfield teacher said that what’s happening at her own school is the most blood boiling part of the situation. The school Jane works at is one of at least seven to test positive for a strain of the bacteria.

“I’m angry. I’m angry. I’m outraged, I’m upset,” she explained.

8News asked Jane if the situation is impacting students’ ability to learn or teachers’ ability to teach.

“I think it’s a worry that’s on the mind of people. I had a kid who didn’t want to go to the water fountain,” Jane continued. “The fear of the unknown.”

The cooling tower at Jane’s school has been cleaned and tested again for Legionella bacteria. She said she is in the dark about the results.

“Haven’t heard anything about it,” Jane told 8News. “Haven’t heard if it’s positive, negative.”

Last month, 8News uncovered that the district was warned about poorly maintained HVAC systems multiple times. Jane is calling on county leadership to act.

“It’s an embarrassment to our county,” Jane said. “There’s just so little accountability and I feel like it’s so political. I feel like they’re not focusing on ‘lets actually take care of this.'”

Worried no changes will be made, Jane is asking other teachers to let their voices be heard.

“That’s my biggest fear, nothing will ever change,” she said. “Speak out, whether it’s anonymously or not. This is a time when people are actually listening and their eyes are on chesterfield county and they’ve needed to be on them for so long.”

Jane told 8News she believes that Chesterfield’s chief operating officer, Nita Mensia-Joseph, should resign in order for the district to move forward.

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