Teachers in Baltimore city are protesting inadequate heating for their students during this frigid winter, urging the city to shut down all schools until the problem is fixed.
The city’s Teachers Union hand-delivered a letter to Baltimore Schools CEO Dr. Sonja Santelises that demanded action, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“I implore that you close schools in the District until your facilities crew has had time to properly assess and fix the heating issues within the affected schools in Baltimore City,” Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English wrote in the letter. “This is the best way to ensure the safety of our members and our children.”
The city had to close four schools on Wednesday due to heating problems. They also dismissed students early from a high school and elementary school. But Santelises also told the Baltimore Sun that up to one-third of the district’s schools —about 60— had issues with their heating in one of the state’s oldest school infrastructures.
“We won't rule out (shutting down schools districtwide). I won't rule out anything at this point because we're really trying to get a sense, based on all of the calls that are coming in, which ones are verifiable, which ones are accurate,” Santelesis told WBAL11, adding that many depend on schools being open — especially for the free meals.
But Teachers Union President English says that the conditions are not a safe place for student or teachers to work.
“Our expectation that our members and the children that they teach endure bursting boilers, drafty windows, frigid temperatures in classrooms, and risk getting sick in these 'less than ideal' conditions, is utterly ridiculous," she wrote in her letter.
The city's schools were closed Thursday due to a winter storm.