Frigid schools lead to heated Baltimore City Public School Board meeting

Baltimore, Md. (WMAR) -

Tuesday was the first Baltimore City Public School Board meeting since pictures and stories started surfacing of children and staff trying to learn in classrooms with temperatures around 40 degrees.

ABC 2 has been following the developing story since it started last week, and at Tuesday's meeting, the anger and frustration reached a boiling point.

Hundreds of people came out filling up the main room, an extra room, and the lobby with some even being escorted out when tempers flared.

Our children are trying to learn in an environment of a third world country," said one teacher who talked at the podium.

The heating issues weren't on the agenda for this school board meeting, but it quickly dominated the conversation.

"The heating crisis clearly shows our children that they are not our top priority in this city," said a parent.

Some teachers saying the heating problems are something that the district has known about for a long time.

“This heating situation isn't new,” said one of the teachers who spoke. “It's out of sight to the general public and has become one of the many unacceptable norms to those who are in the schools daily."

Only one student talked, and he commended the school board's efforts while being constantly interrupted by adult members of the crowd.

"I feel like Baltimore City has handled it correctly," said Josh Lynn, a Baltimore City Public Schools student.

Some parents felt that more could have been done to fix the problems.

"Our children, the children who are defenseless, not only defenseless but are being prevented access to one of the greatest weapons they will ever have in this lifetime, the weapon of knowledge and empowerment through education,” said a teacher.

Mayor Catherine Pugh got involved, working with the district to close schools immediately if they’re too cold and open recreation centers near the closed schools to help feed the children.

Governor Hogan pledged $2.5 million dollars to help with the problems.

Aaron Maybin, a Matthew Henson Elementary School Art Teacher who has been vocal about the issues the area faces said it’s not enough.

"Of course, it's not enough,” said Maybin. “Just because the systems are running again doesn't mean that they're not still old and crumbling with the rest of the infrastructure in our schools."

The outpouring of passion prompted the school district to call for a Town Hall meeting to talk to people about the issues.

It will be Monday, January 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School located at 1400 Orleans Street.

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