DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – They say they’re prepared to walk out of class. Some students at a Dallas Independent School District high school are making the move to get their voices heard. After months of complaints about conditions at South Oak Cliff High School students are demanding action.
Students say their education and their heath is at risk and they blame the ongoing renovations and conditions inside the school. Youngsters say they are so concerned that they’ll walk out of school at 2:55 p.m. and assemble “to expose to our school board and the city of Dallas, the horrible conditions.”
South Oak Cliff senior David Johnson said, “It’s hard to work in an uncomfortable environment, and that’s want a comfortable environment. We have tests we need to pass, and if it’s not a comfortable environment, then how can we pass tests, how can we stay focused and get the information to pass the test?”
Some of the pictures showed pipes and wiring exposed above hallways. “If a CPS worker went to someone’s house and saw that, they would remove the kids immediately,” Alexander said. “These kids are exposed to electrical wires, plumbing, storm drainage [and] asbestos on the ground.”
In response to Alexander’s claims in October, a DISD spokesperson said the heating and cooling system was being upgraded while students were in the building, but that the activity posed no threat.
As for the asbestos, administrators said that if work crews came across the fibrous mineral while upgrading the HVAC they would remove it, but not during the school day.
To date, students claim the heating and cooling problems haven’t been corrected. In fact they say some parts of the school are so unbearably hot or cold that classes are being held in hallways, where the temperatures are better regulated. Students say they are also constantly dealing with roof and gas leaks and sewage and plumbing problems.
The teenagers say today’s scheduled school walkout is not only to shed light on a very serious problem but to demand that the problems be fixed during the upcoming two-week Christmas vacation. As it stands, DISD officials say renovations and repairs at the school are scheduled to be complete by February.
Students planned the walkout for the same day that DISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is hosting an evening meeting for parents – at South Oak Cliff High. The purpose of the meeting, which has been scheduled for some time, is to discuss issues affecting DISD student achievement.
So far there’s no word if Superintendent Hinojosa will address the South Oak Cliff High building issues at the meeting, which will be held at the school, at 3601 S. Marsalis Avenue, from 6 – 7 p.m.
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