Mushrooms, black mold, fecal matter, dead rodents, no heat. Detroit’s schools are just as toxic as Flint’s water.
Detroit’s students are trying to learn while breathing in black mold and sitting in classrooms filled with buckets catching toilet water leaking through the ceiling. And that’s not even the worst part.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder is not only using the financial emergency management laws to poison children in Flint; he’s doing the same thing in Detroit via the public school system, which the state has controlled for the last seven years. Darnell Earley, the same emergency manager who oversaw the changes in Flint’s water system, is currently in charge of Detroit’s public schools.
The people of Flint wanted the world to see the pictures detailing their horrifying conditions. But now, teachers and parents want the world to see these images from Detroit Public Schools under the direction of Gov. Snyder’s emergency management to get a better, broader idea of how Snyder ignores children for the sake of the bottom line:
One Detroit teacher even quit her job to work elsewhere, due to horrendous classroom conditions taking a toll on her health. Nancy Muerhoff, a kindergarten teacher at Carleton Elementary in Detroit, said water from toilets above her classroom has been leaking through her classroom’s ceiling for over three years. Her classroom is connected to a dilapidated greenhouse that hasn’t been cleaned in years. Muerhoff said her classroom has a distinct odor that gives her frequent headaches:
The door to the green house doesn’t have a doorknob, insulation, or a lock. She put bags in the doorknob hole after squirrels kept getting in to her classroom.
“I have told the building manager,” said Muerhoff. “He says, ‘Oh we have to get a contractor.’ The contractor never comes out.”
The windows in the greenhouse are covered in a black substance. She doesn’t know if it is mold or mildew. She knows it smells and isn’t clean.
Students are forced to learn in the midst of black mold — where crumbling walls, floors, and ceilings drip rain on their heads and electronics. Their bathrooms are broken, and the drinking fountains are scarce. Mushrooms are literally growing from the walls. There is a mustiness in the air and people are getting sick, coming down with headaches, and finding it difficult to breathe. It’s gotten so bad, teachers have been waging sick-outs to draw attention to the matter, a protest method that Emergency Manager Earley smugly derided as “misguided.”
Drawing a parallel to Snyder’s emergency management poisoning kids to save money in Flint, former DPS student, Tracy Russell, who now works as a teacher within the district and who has three children attending DPS schools, said, “[The children of Flint] were poisoned to save a dime. So, you know, it just begs the question … we can do better. The sick-out says ‘enough is enough.’”
When Mayor Mike Duggan toured DPS schools on Tuesday in response to the sick-out protests, he saw kids with coats on in the classroom as well as a dead mouse lying in a trap right out in the open, and he called what he witnessed throughout his DPS tour “deeply disturbing.”
President of the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, David Hecker, also saw the parallels, telling Duggan at the end of his DPS tour, “No child in Flint should have to drink lead in water and no child in Detroit should have to learn under such conditions.”
As far as Hecker is concerned, “The governor, legislature, and the emergency manager need to take action.”
Mayor Duggan also called out Gov. Snyder over the conditions of DPS schools, if timidly, stating, “Lansing needs to address these issues with urgency. We’re heading toward seven years of state takeover and test scores are low, and there’s a bigger deficit than before. After seven years of running the schools, the state needs to do something.”
The photos of Detroit Public Schools’ classrooms are stark contrast to photos of the lavish office of Detroit’s emergency manager:
Governor Snyder and EM Earley not only need to resign, they need to face legal action for their crimes — poisoning the bodies, minds, and environments of entire communities isn’t just immoral, it’s criminal.
Original post can be found here