Mold Issues Still Concern Westview Parents
By SABRINA BATES
Chief Staff Writer
The saga continues for a group calling themselves “concerned Westview High School” parents and their ongoing efforts to see what they would deem “remediation” action taking place at the public school in Martin.
Over the course of the past month, statements have been issued, a lawsuit has been filed and students have protested against what they consider to be direct contact with mold at Westview High School.
“All we want is timeline for remediation,” students stated during a Weakley County School Board meeting earlier this month. Due to pending litigation against the Weakley County Board of Education and others listed in a lawsuit filed by the Joost family requesting damages for the failing health of their son, Caleb.
According to the suit, Caleb has suffered from a severe allergy to mold and the family stipulates he came into contact with mold and mold spores while he attended the public high school.
The Weakley County School Board offered no comment during its regular meeting concerning “mold at Westview High School” due to pending litigation.
Parents of WHS students were on hand at the meeting and as a result of the board’s failure to address the topic; they have chosen to seek legal advice.
Carol Hinman, parent of WHS senior Griffin Pochop, has issued letters to state legislators to enact state air quality legislation. Hinman has also contacted a mold expert out of Paducah, Ky. as well as the Tennessee Commissioner for the Department of Environment and Conservation James H. Fyke.
In response Fyke had this to say:
“We regret that the Weakley County School Board is not communicating with the public regarding the actions they are taking to address the mold problem at Westview High School … We believe that the public is owed a response.”
Fyke confirmed the state department does not regulate indoor air quality, but it believes that prevention and early detection of mold can be very effective in ensuring that serious problems do not develop.
“… To protect the health of children and all occupants of a school building, a responsible school system will address mold and moisture problems as part of maintaining good indoor air quality,” Fyke explained.
As a result of what seems by the “concerned parents of WHS” to be the school board’s unwillingness to address remediation, Hinman announced other students have scheduled medical testing to determine if they have come into contact with mold.
Reportedly, there is an email circulating among the community that request all Weakley County students as well as teachers to “call in sick” Friday, Oct. 26 to have a direct impact on the fiscal year budget.
Weakley County Director of Schools Richard Barber said the fiscal year budget for the Weakley County School system is not determined by attendance; it is determined by enrollment.
Barber also explained the principal of each school has the liberty to determine if an absence is excused or unexcused.
According to the Weakley County student handbook, “all children will be required to attend school regularly from their sixth birthday until their eighteenth birthday … parents are responsible for the attendance of their children.”