PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Students are forced to stay at home as asbestos concerns are now plaguing even more classrooms in Philadelphia. There’s no school Monday or Tuesday for students at Francis Hopkinson School in the Juniata Park section of the city.
Parents were shocked to find out classes were canceled when they went to drop their children off at school.
“Last week they said it was in the lunchroom and the kids were in there eating,” Milly Crespo said.
Crespo, who has a special needs child, said she had to take her son to the hospital last week because of breathing problems.
“He has breathing problems when he comes home. At home he’s fine, after school he has trouble breathing and it’s nasty. All these toxic things in the air. The school is disgusting,” Crespo said.
The ceiling tiles at Hopkinson were replaced last summer, spreading asbestos fibers across the building. Now, there could be more damaged asbestos above the ceiling in every classroom.
“Dozens of areas of damaged asbestos,” Hillary Linardopoulos with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers said.
Asbestos was also found in the cafeteria.
The Philadelphia School District can’t assure that it’s safe for occupancy, so it will be closed while it is being cleaned up.
“Nobody signed up for this. None of our members signed up for this. None of our little kids signed up for this. This can’t go on,” Linardopoulos said.
The Federation of Teachers fears asbestos is above the ceiling tiles in every classroom after work that was done months ago.
“It’s really unconscionable that any educator or student in this city is thinking, ‘Am I gonna get sick because of the school building I work in?'” Linardopoulos said.
The school district says Wednesday’s reopening is contingent on the tests being performed right now.
“We do want people to know that we’re doing everything possible to address this situation,” school district spokeswoman Monica Lewis said. “Whenever there is imminent hazard, we immediately contain those areas and keep them off-limits to students and staff.”
If necessary, students will be sent to an alternate location.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid reports.