Baltimore classrooms without heat in freezing temperatures causes outrage

    Children had to wear their coats and gloves because classrooms were too cold

    baltimore-classrooms thegrio.com
    (Photo: Twitter)

    In the middle of freezing cold temperatures, Baltimore teachers were shocked when they came to school only to find that the heat didn’t work.

    Across the city, teachers and students had to bundle up to deal with the extreme cold indoors. Some even had to deal with water issues from pipes that had burst over the break thanks to the freezing temperatures.

    And yet the city assured everyone that things were fine as they shepherded kids into those freezing environments.

    “School buildings were monitored for heat & water issues throughout the holiday break,” @BaltCitySchools tweeted, assuring their followers that all their schools but two would open “on time.”

    Freezing kids can’t concentrate

    The lack of heat meant that the teachers and students had to bundle up, move to warmer classrooms, and pack several warm bodies into one classroom to get warmer.

    “It was miserable. The kids had their coats, hats and gloves on all day,” said Jesse Schneiderman, a social studies teacher at Frederick Douglass High School, where one teacher’s classroom had flooded because of a burst pipe, reports Baltimore Brew.

    “A teacher in our basement, because her room is under the flooded classroom, lost all of her materials,” he said. “Other teachers had to teach in the library because their classrooms were too cold.”

    “We were shocked we weren’t one of the schools sent home,” Schneiderman said.

    Several students went home anyway, calling their parents or leaving outright.

    Patterson High School teacher Jim Ritter tried to use a space heater to warm up his classroom but only got it up to 46 degrees by lunchtime.

    “We had students tell us all day they just weren’t able to concentrate,” Ritter said.

    “I just think of all that stuff about needing to have perseverance and grit and that’s all they can say to these children,” Schneiderman said. “Things we only ask of black and brown children.”

    Ben Jealous speaks out

    Former NAACP national president Ben Jealous, who is running for governor of Maryland, took to Twitter to blast Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, who too, expressed outrage over classroom conditions.

    “If they were my kids, I’d be down there at the Superintendent’s office seeking answers! I’d be calling the local officials asking why this is happening?” Rutherford tweeted on Wednesday.

    Jealous took issue with Rutherford’s comment, considering his leadership position.

    “As Lieutenant Governor, all Maryland kids are your kids. So will we see you at the Superintendent’s office seeking answers for your kids?” Jealous wrote.