As a major cyclone approaches with what is expected to be historically frigid temperatures, teachers are asking that Baltimore City Public Schools be closed because of the lack of heating.
This week, many students, faculty and staff suffered the frigid temperatures that forced many of the kids in the district to leave class early.
Outraged teachers took to social media to share and protest the conditions, reported Baltimore Brew.
“The kids had their coats, hats and gloves on all day,” Jesse Schneiderman of Frederick Douglass High School said, adding that several teachers had to move their classes to the library so that they could have heat.
Schneiderman also posted a picture of a classroom that had been flooded after a pipe burst during the winter break. The photo shows that the square floor tiles were damaged and warped.
“A teacher in our basement, because her room is under the flooded classroom, lost all of her materials,” he said.
Another teacher, Jeffrey San Filippo, who teaches the seventh and eighth grades at Calverton Elementary/Middle School, reported that temperatures in his classroom didn’t get higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
“From 7 a.m. until 2:40 p.m., when school dismissed, it never warmed up,” San Filippo said.
I am a Baltimore City Public School teacher This was the temperature in my classroom this morning and we are still in the school building pic.twitter.com/QAm493mTrH
— Jeffrey San Filippo (@JeffSanFilippo) January 2, 2018
Two classes consisting of 200 students at Calverton were relocated to the cafeteria, but the conditions proved too difficult for actual education. Photos teachers shared on social media showed students bundled up in puffy coats and gloves, their hoods pulled up tight over their faces.
“By the end of the day, there were only about 27 or 28 kids left,” San Filippo said.
The conditions in classes across the city were so bad, reported The Baltimore Sun, that the city’s teachers union is calling on Baltimore to shut down all schools “until officials can get a handle on heating problems.”
Edie House-Foster, a spokesperson for Baltimore City Schools, said in a statement Tuesday that the district tries to keep buildings open “whenever possible,” not just so that students can learn, but so that kids in need can receive important services the schools provide, like free meals and after-school care.
Still, the conditions documented across Baltimore left many residents enraged that the city’s students would be forced to endure such poor conditions.
As Schneiderman, the teacher at Frederick Douglass High School, said: “I just think of all that stuff about needing to have perseverance and grit, and that’s all they can say to these children,” he said. “Things we only ask of black and brown children.”