Updated 11/30/2012 02:59 PM
Parents Concerned About Potential Mold At Queens School
While the New York City Department of Education says it is clean, concerns over mold have some parents keeping their kids out of P.S. 114 in Queens. NY1's Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.
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Parents want to know: is there mold growing behind the Sandy battered walls of P.S./M.S. 114? Until tests provide a definitive no, Maggie Murphy isn't going back to her fifth-grade classroom.
"I was scared if I could get sick," she said.
"How could you possibly open up the school and put these children and teachers and so on in jeopardy?" said parent Don Murphy. "I don't understand that."
Even parents who sent their kids to school did so with a nagging worry, yet another in a community still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
"I chose to send her back and I have to live with that," said parent Michele Moore.
"I think everybody is debating one way or the other," said parent Eileen McManus. "There were 13 kids in his class Wednesday. There were nine yesterday. There's definitely a concern. If they could test and let everybody assured that everything is safe, it would help everybody."
The school's auditorium and gym were submerged by flood water. The New York City Department of Education said the gym and auditorium stage are off limits for now, although the auditorium was used for a welcome back pep rally.
On Thursday, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said P.S. 114 was safe for students to attend.
"We have clean air samples for 114," he said. "We do not put students in a school that's not healthy, and so I have the report, the report is fine."
But on Friday, the DOE said the air was tested for humidity, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other materials. It said nothing about mold. So now, the teachers' union is checking.
"Let's just do the right thing," said Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers. "Let the professionals check it, and then they can assure the parents that the school is a safe place for their kids."
It's not clear when the test results will be available. Parents said they want to be reassured their kids are safe at school so they can focus on rebuilding other parts of their lives.
"I feel helpless, because all I want is for her to be safe and have an education," Moore said.