PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Angry parents confronted Philadelphia’s superintendent of schools on Monday night. They want answers after asbestos was found at Thomas M. Peirce school.
This was the fifth meeting for parents with children who attend Peirce. Parents say they’re feeling a little more hopeful, but added they will be holding the school district accountable.
Emotions ran high at Thomas M. Peirce School as parents voiced their concerns about how the School District of Philadelphia has handled the asbestos and lead problem in their children’s North Philadelphia school.
“As parents, our trust is broken and the district has to regain the trust of every parent that’s in this room, and every parent that’s not in this room,” Antione Little said.
Parents originally learned of the asbestos concerns through news outlets before hearing from the school district about asbestos in the basement hallway of the school.
On Monday, the district proposed a plan to move students from Peirce into a different school on Henry Avenue.
Parents will tour the school Tuesday and if it is safe, the district plans to relocate the students on Dec. 2.
“We’re determining, based on that move, when the children will return and that’s a conversation that we want to have with the community,” Superintendent Dr. William Hite said.
Hite faced criticism for not talking with parents until the fifth meeting on Monday night.
“I apologize for not being here before now. If people wanted and needed to see me then they should have been able to see me,” he said.
If parents agree on the Henry Avenue location, students will be bused from Peirce over to the new location.
Parents say they’re optimistic, but actions speak louder than words.
“We’re going to make sure that we hold your feet to the fire and that you’re going to do everything you said that you’re going to do,” Little said.
It’s unclear whether the students will be coming back to Pierce after the abatement work is complete.
The district plans to rebuild the school and Hite says they will work out those details with parents.