Mold temporarily shuts down elementary school

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Winter break is over, but class is still out for students at one Memphis-area elementary school.

FOX13′s reporter Lakiya Scott learned that Freedom Prep Westwood Elementary is temporarily closed due to positive tests for mold.

According to a school spokesperson, environmental consultants inspected the building finding the bacteria.

Latanglia Douglas told FOX13 she’s had family members who’ve attended the elementary school.

Douglas claims mold has been an ongoing issue at the Parkrose Road location.

“It’s been going on for years, it’s nothing new,” Douglas said. “You can smell the mold. You can smell it, real talk. You know most schools, you can smell the cleanliness. It doesn’t smell like that in there at all.”

Parents received the first email dated Dec. 31, informing of a pipe burst that would delay mold removal work and classes until Jan. 4.

A second email sent out on Jan. 3, the day before classes were to start said, “This moisture damage is extensive … at this time we do not have a return date.”

However, that reality didn’t sit well with one Memphis mom. “It’s really frustrating because the childcare that my child goes to, they are getting in trouble for him being up there within the timeframe that the school is supposed to be in,” the mom told FOX13 anonymously. “As I’m trying to push him ahead, it’s also putting him backward.”

The mom, who has a 4th grader at the school, asked to remain anonymous.

She said she’s had to miss work because she doesn’t always have an alternative place for her child to go, so she places the blame for the inconvenience on the school.

“Our kids are being punished, also parents are being punished for something they have going on. That’s something that should have been avoided before they even opened the school back up.”

A spokesperson for Freedom Prep Westwood Elementary released the following statement to FOX13:

Our leadership team recently received testing results from mold and asbestos environmental consultants who visited our campus to assess our building. During prior construction periods, the affected areas were covered in compliance with health standards. Recent unexpected flooding created an exposure risk, prompting us to contact the environmental consultants to come out and do testing. The results concluded that those areas must remain closed while we embark on a full cleanup of the areas that tested positive.We immediately embarked on a removal plan and worked to hire professional mold remediation and cleaning crews; however, recent cold weather resulted in a pipe bursting in our building, thus delaying our mold removal work. The safety of our students and staff are of utmost priority, and the professional mold remediation and cleaning crews are working swiftly to ensure a safe return to school. We are keeping our families closely updated as we work through this process.