Parents Say School Building Conditions Make Children Sick
(Olive Branch, MS) Parents whose children attend Olive Branch Elementary School said their children are getting sick from the poor conditions of the classrooms.
Moms involved with the Parent Teacher Organization shared photos with News Channel 3, showing carpet stains, rusted metal, poorly kept vents and bugs in light fixtures.
They said one teacher has even told them of a squirrel falling through the ceiling during class.
“It’s not funny. I mean, they’re dangerous, they carry a lot of diseases, you know there are feces all up there,” said Heather Fox.
Fox’s daughter, who was in kindergarten last year, took naps with her class on those soiled carpets.
After coming back to school for first grade, she’s developed a lot of health problems and has to stay home.
“I feel frustrated, I feel sad, I’ve cried, I’ve been mad, I’ve been everything, because I have a little girl who loves to go to school,” Fox said.
Parents have complained about their children getting severe headaches, nosebleeds, and respiratory problems. They said these issues didn’t happen before in daycare, and some who have moved on to other buildings saw the problems disappear.
Fox and other parents talked to the school principal, but only saw more cleaning being done, instead of the carpet replacements and serious maintenance they hoped for.
They circulated a petition that now has about 200 signatures, asking for an environmental engineer, building inspector and pest control to visit the campus.
When Fox spoke up at the DeSoto County Schools board meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Milton Kuykendall assured her this matter would be addressed.
Kuykendall told News Channel 3, “We’re going to do the best we can. Safety is our number one priority in this school district and has been since the day I took office.”
He said that he was informed of the problem on Friday and that a professional team has been called upon to check out the problem.
The members of the Olive Branch Elementary PTO said they hope that crew is a third-party, independent contractor, not on the DeSoto County Schools payroll.
Parent Megan Sanders said, “They need to make some improvements. And in the long run, maybe they could save some money.”