McClure Elementary School parents outraged over asbestos meeting

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Many parents with children at McClure Elementary School in Philadelphia seemed distinctly dissatisfied after a meeting about asbestos with school district officials on Thursday night. The school district refused to let news media inside, but parents say the meeting has left them outraged.

"I'm upset, they're saying there's still going to be asbestos in the building but they want us to go back," said Sasha Robinson.

Parents shared videos of the meeting with Action News. Many parents say they walked out after officials told them they would be facing truancy charges if they didn't send their kids back to school dealing with asbestos when it's expected to reopen next Wednesday.

McClure Elementary is one of six schools that have been forced to close due to asbestos issues. On Thursday, the school district sent Action News pictures of remediation work to temporarily patch up asbestos issues until it can be completely removed this summer. But the district has lost credibility on the matter when it was learned, among other things, asbestos issues have been discovered as far back as 2017. Some parents don't want their kids back at the school until it's all been removed.

"I am not sending my children to school even if they charge me with truancy. I don't care, I worry about my children's safety more than anything else. I am not sending my children to school all because they wanna patch up. You don't patch up cancer, you remove it," said Cathy Morales.

"Are you feeling like between a rock and a hard place?" asked reporter Dann Cuellar.

"Yep, because if I don't send him, I'll have to go to court for not sending my child to school," said Yolanda Santiago.

Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who attended McClure as a child, understands why the parents don't trust and is asking for an independent company making sure things are safe.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is asking the state to send $170 million to address what is being called a crisis in Philadelphia schools, and that it cannot any longer be ignored.

"There is a rainy day fund of $350 million and we're saying spend the rainy day funds, it's raining in Philadelphia," said PFT President Jerry Jordan.

A number of city and state elected officials are joining in that call for state money to address these issues. So far, there has been no commitment from Harrisburg.
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