"It's just too cold to even try to learn anything" President of teachers union speaks out

Baltimore, Md. (WMAR) -

On Tuesday Baltimore Public School parents are upset and concerned that their children are going to class in frigid schools.

ABC 2 has been getting pictures and emails showing students bundled up inside their classrooms and thermostats around 40 degrees.

The Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English said it’s ridiculous that staff and students are expected to learn in those conditions.

"You can't expect me to be in a coat and all these things to teach and you can't expect these children to pay attention when the temperatures are this low."

The principal at one of the schools said they turned the heat on today, and it takes time for the entire school to warm up.

While that principal understands that the districts hands are tied as far as fixing school infrastructure, he doesn’t think it’s right for his students and staff to be stuck in the cold.

Baltimore City Schools issued a statement: it reads:

"Over the winter break, facilities staff monitored schools to check on heating systems, plumbing, and electricity. Numerous problems were identified and resolved. Unfortunately, with the extreme temperatures, new problems can emerge quickly."

"Our priority is always to open buildings whenever possible. We want students to have every possible opportunity for teaching and learning, and we also want to make sure that students can get the services and supports that many families rely on -- for example, warm meals and before- and after-school care. We have many schools with leaky windows and outdated heating systems that have a hard time keeping up. With extreme temperatures, we have the added challenge of freezing pipes and water main breaks. Our facilities staff are on call around the clock to address these problems and make buildings as comfortable as they can be. In some cases, we rely on principals to relocate or combine classes when specific areas of a building have heat or water problems. Only when problems affect large portions or all of a building do we make the decision to close the school. This occurred with the schools that were closed today.”

English said the president of the teacher’s union says most public schools need their windows replaced.

"If you're getting draft in the building even you have the boiler on you can't be warm,” said English.  “Fixing these windows is a big issue but right now we don't even have time to do that. So if we can't find a place for our kids to be safe they're better off at home where it's warm,"

Some schools did dismiss early or were closed today due to heat or water issues.

As of Tuesday night, Kipp Baltimore and Smart Steps Children's Centers are closed.

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