Temperatures, tempers hot as Baltimore County schools with no air conditioning close

Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 18:01:47-04

On Friday, 37 public schools in Baltimore County closed for the day over heat concerns.

Orems Elementary School is among those 37 schools without air conditioning shut down due to the heat, and many families are left wondering why.

"People just don't understand that, yes, it's hot,” said Pre-K Instructor Melissa Boening, “Anybody... when you get that hot, the brain just like, 'I'm done.'"

Earlier this month, Baltimore County's board of education approved a measure that requires all non-air conditioned schools to close if the heat index reaches 90 degrees.

Two days after the new school year began, it came to a sudden stop for those schools without air conditioning, but with no thermostat to bring relief some are left wondering if that was two days too many.

"Kids sweating. They’re asking for water,” Shiela Lates said, “I work for Stemmers Run Middle School. I've been there for 18 years, and it's ungodly hot in there. I have children from the upstairs that came down yesterday and said with the humidity up there it's very hot. Fans... teachers are bringing fans in and all it’s doing is circulating just hot air. It's just miserable there."

Back at Orems Elementary, a sign in front of the school extends a welcome for an Aug. 30 back to school night, but there's a chance no one will be welcomed back to class until later next week if the heat index keeps climbing over 90 degrees.

"It's really ridiculous, because these kids should be in school," Brenda Kirby said, "I got to stay home and take care... I'm taking care of them. It's wrong. It's wrong by keeping them out of school."

Boening said for all of those critics out there who claim they weathered through ac-less classrooms, times have changed making it almost unbearable.

"What they don't understand is... like when we went to school, we didn't have all the electronics---all the equipment that's adding all this extra heat in these classrooms.  We had books and chalk.  Now you have laptops.  You've got the Elmos up, and it's just... I mean it's excruciating."

Reached by telephone, the school system declined ABC2's request for interviews Friday.

Download the ABC2 News app for the iPhone, Kindle and Android.