NewsCovering Louisiana


Terrebonne Parish Schools: parents and children say schools have mold and mildew, superintendent says otherwise

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-02 15:44:35-04

One month after Hurricane Ida, Superintendent Philip Martin of the Terrebonne Parish School Board announced Wednesday the preparations taking place to open devastated schools by September 30 were on schedule.

As employees and students returned to class, schools remain in hazardous conditions, locals say, but the Superintendent Martin said otherwise.

"All schools are satisfactory to return students and faculty to them. I don't know what else to say," Superintendent Martin explained.

"I want every employee to know that no school will open without passing air quality/environmental tests."

Parents in Terrebonne Parish say they feel like their children are falling victim to the hazardous conditions.

"I don't know how they thought this was okay to allow our children to breathe into this nastiness," said Monique Lapointe, the mother of two sons attending Houma Junior High School.

Pictures of mold and mildew could be seen through her children's camera lenses as they tried to settle back into their school day routines.

Lapointe's asthmatic child entered into first period and immediately had trouble breathing.

The pictures drove her to dismiss her children on their first day back.

She says within ten minutes, she was there.

Now, families feel that the return to school when ceilings are covered with black spores proves Superintendent Martin wrong.

"The way my children explained it, the floors, walls, basketball goals, and stadium were still covered in white mildew," Lapointe says. "We have to be the voice for our children. We are getting backlash from people who do not have children in the affected school, it's unreal. Not every school is bad, I have heard good things about a couple of schools, and I am happy for them. But our school, Houma Junior High and H.L. Bourgeois, for sure is not a safe learning environment. My kids will not return until it's safe."

In a Zoom meeting on Thursday, Philip Martin told WWL-TV, air quality tests were done by a third party to clear schools for reentry and what parents are seeing is merely cosmetic.

"Are there some cosmetic issues in little spots? Yes, but they're not health issues," he said.

Martin said each school received a letter of clearance, but when asked if this was public, WWL-TV was informed that it is not.

Now, he suggests that parents reach out to principals to see the letter themselves.

A Facebook group called: Fire Superintendent Philip Martin!!!! emerged on September 29 to call to action and put pressure on school board members that work for Terrebonne Parish to 'fire an incompetent superintendent and give kids the schools they deserve.'

510 Facebook members have since joined in.

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