Parents Want Answers About Mold at Valley Head High School

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Several parents contacted us in the past day, asking us to look into a situation at Valley Head High School concerning mold.

Police, firefighters and EMA personnel were at the school Friday to look into the situation.

Several parents said they called DeKalb County Superintendent Hugh Taylor’s office to complain about the mold.  They said students have been sick due to the mold.

WHNT News 19 called Taylor’s office to try to get answers.

Taylor was not in, but a staff member said she wasn’t certain what type of mold it was. She did say she was told it was not detrimental to anyone in the school.

Taylor was notified about the mold in November 2013, she said, through an email from a teacher.  The school system treated it immediately, but that didn’t get rid of the problem.

The school system got bids to resolve the problem and now they have someone contracted to do it during spring break while the school is closed. They did that to keep the students from being exposed, the person said.

DeKalb County EMA director Anthony Clifton says special efforts are being made to resolve the issue. His office sent samples of the plaster off to be tested for asbestos and construction is stopped on that particular project until the results come back. He said they are taking every precaution to keep the kids and teachers safe.

At least one instance of suspected mold was found to be black paint, according to Clifton.

WHNT News 19 is working to get more information on this story.  We’ll continue to update WHNT.com.

32 comments

  • Don Brock

    After reading this story, I have more questions than answers. My primary concern is the safety and welfare of my grandchildren and all children at VHS. But, there are several issues here. Is the Board of Education, superintendent, or principal capable of effective communication with the public? Do they feel responsible to parents? Are they only accountable when the media gets involved? Did the superintendent ever return any of the parent’s calls? Does the staff member think that just because they don’t know what kind of mold it is it is OK to start demolition with students present? Have students been exposed to mold for the past 4 months without officials taking air samples? Why did the superintendent have to be notified by a teacher that mold was present, what was the principal doing? “The school system treated it but did not get rid of the problem”? They knew that and still put students back in the classroom? No, they are not waiting until spring break – walls were being removed today with students present. Mold testing requires more than a sample of plaster. Please get to the bottom of this from a technical perspective. Thank you.

  • Gail Chambers

    Valley Head School has been like the “red headed step child” of the school system for a number of years now. It seems to be the last one to get any attention if any at all. The kids have had to endure things that should have been addressed long ago. I’m glad someone finally took the initiative and got some attention in this matter. We as a community have NOT been satisfied with the Superintendent for several years now and it doesn’t’ look like this one is going to be any better.

  • Scott

    Taylor’s kids go to Cornerstone. He could care less about the kids in the county schools. He doesn’t answer the phone if you call. He is NEVER in the office. I believe he only ran for the job so he could collect a paycheck.

  • jennifer

    I’m very concerned that the board of education is making out to the media that work well begin during spring break to clean up this problem. If that were the case, why were maintenance people for the school system there yesterday tearing out walls while our children were present? My son moved into that very building at the beginning of this school year. He comes home with a headache EVERY single day. He never has one on the weekends. We’ve carried him to eye doctors thinking it was his vision from reading or looking at the board from a distance but now I’m concerned it’s from exposure to the mold in the school. My husband and I have just been baffled as to why he’s sick everyday after school. I hope for the sake of our children this problem is properly addressed and corrected. How would the superintendent feel if this were his children?

  • eli

    I am a student at vh I have personally seen the mold the high school building is covered in it. They actually made some students including me clean one of the closets before the state came to inspect the building.

  • Donna

    I am one of the parents who have been working with our principal and vice principal about this issue. The reason we got involved is because Superintendent Taylor refused to return many phone calls, emails, or requests to resolve this issue. He also refused to share the results and reports of inspections done last year. Our principals have not been allowed by the BOE to take any action at all regarding this problem, which is why we got involved. They have tried very hard to work with Mr. Taylor and have clear dccumentation of eveyt attempt.
    We are ALL very aware that the black paint is not mold, that is not the problem being addresed at this time. The problem IS that after the wall inside a classroom collapsed, Mr. Monroe requested that maintenance NOT disturb the area while children were present and they showed up despite his request. He was concerned with the safety or HIS students and staff and they wanted the problem covered up. Everyone with questions or concerns is urged to attend the meeting at the school Monday at 5:30.

  • brooke

    The mold at the school didn’t just show up over night, this has been an issue for years way before Hugh Taylor took office, Bill Monroe the principal has been aware of this situation for many many years, but just now decides to tell parents to call and complain about it and to check their children out of school. The school needs to be taken care of and made safe for all that enters the building, however Bill Monroe saw an opportunity to make Hugh Taylor look bad and he took full advantage of that. It is sad that the school has got in this shape but even more upsetting that Bill is being a sore loser still over the superintendent thing. While they are cleaning out the mold they may want to clean out the principal as well.

    • Dave Vest

      Your comment is totally uncalled for. I am one of the parents that is involved in this situation. The situation at Valley Head has escalated to this point because of neglect on the part of the board of education. Mr. Monroe has clear documentation as to every time he has tried to involve the county and get this matter resolved. It’s come to this because after months and months of being brushed off and ignored we have had enough. If its been a problem for years then shame on who ever knew about it and did not try to get it resolved. I make no apologies to anyone that when I found out about It I called and spoke directly to the assistant superintendent and warned him not to do any work in that school until they spoke to us and provided us documentation that it was indeed safe for the kids and faculty. No one that is a part of this is blaming Taylor for the problem at VHS. But he is the person in charge and he is the person that has to provide answers, not ignore phone calls everyday for 2 weeks.

  • Brooke

    There is no way possible for Mr. Taylor to respond to every single call, he needs to do an interview and provide answers. There are so many people calling and he can’t get to them all so of course it looks like he doesn’t care but maybe he’s not answering because he is handling this situation. Would you rather him be on the phone with you or someone who can fix the problem. We are all human and imperfect, imagine if you was in his shoes would you fix the problem or talk to each parent on the phone. My point exactly. There has been mold in that school for over 10 years and everyone wants to make it out like Hugh is careless and not handling things. Who are you to say my comment is uncalled for? It’s my opinion and right to say what I want too. If you don’t like it then don’t reply with small minded comments simple and easy.

    • Christopher

      Brooke, that is why people issue public statements. While he cannot respond to every call, he should issue some type of official explanation to let people know what is going on. Nothing less should be expected of a responsible elected leader. Furthermore, one of your sentences should read as follows: if you were in his shoes, not “if you was in his shoes,” besides your many punctuation errors…

  • Brooke

    Christopher I’ve been commenting on this just hoping for someone to point out my errors! Thank you!! I mean just forget what the topic is even about, you’re only here to proof read.

    • Christopher

      Evidently you did not read the first part of my comments which is my response to what you had written… Your grammatical and punctuation errors were a side note.

      • Christopher

        James, I would rather be a “union” employee who knows how to form complete sentences and use proper punctuation, something you apparently do not know how to do either based on both of your comments. Usually, you all are bashing “union” employees as incompetent educators. You cannot have it both ways.

      • james

        No ,but most of the union educators are incompetent, thats why they get into union education, their lazy.

      • Christopher

        Your wild assumptions are not true. Over my career, I have worked with some hardworking and highly motivated colleagues. It might come as a shock to people who obviously know nothing about intrinsic motivation, but most teachers are not motivated or unmotivated by extrinsic factors. If you change your generalization to some teachers are lazy, you will be correct. The lazy teachers are the ones that give the majority a bad name.

      • Christopher

        Furthermore, since you are calling the majority of teachers lazy, what type of job do you work? I worked and paid my own way through college. What about you? Although I am getting older and a little slower, my work ethic has not changed from the days that I was attending college full time and working to survive at the same time.

      • james

        Christopher, as a business owner, I have hired, and fired , a few ex educators, and trust me there was a common thread ,that I saw in each one of them, (lazy people) . as for the last seven years, my policy is to not hire any one that has been in a union environment.

      • Christopher

        Since you liberally throw around the word “union,” perhaps you should be reminded that AEA is a professional organization more than it is a union. AEA does not set the salaries of teachers, but the Alabama Legislature does. AEA members cannot go on strike. AEA does not determine the working conditions of its members. AEA does not determine who is hired or fired. The more appropriate title is professional lobby who advocates in behalf of its members. It is more powerless than you think. Most people are members for the purpose of protecting themselves from lawsuits and false allegations. Even then, if a person is guilty of a crime, AEA can only insure that due process is followed. Essentially that is what tenure is, a guarantee that due process will be followed, not the guarantee of a job. That is the purpose of the administration who may or may not elect to follow the due process which is in place in order to get rid of an ineffective employee.

      • Christopher

        Finally, I have one question. Do you know who established and maintains tenure laws in the state of Alabama? I will give you one hint. It is not AEA.

      • Christopher

        James, that is an apt description of the Alabama State Legislature, except it is called a lame duck…

      • james

        Christopher, my HR person ,told me this morning ,two of my former employee, are back in the madison county school system. maybe they fit better in the ” union environment”, than out in the real world work force.

  • Dave Vest

    So let me get this straight. You know mold has been in that school for 10 years? Have you not reported it? If you haven’t, don’t you think you should have? If you did why have you not followed up on it? Listen, I found out about it 2 weeks ago. Like I said I’ve made numerous attempts to get information concerning this. He does not have to call me you are correct. But he should have called Monroe and gave a statement, but he didn’t even do that. Common sense says you don’t work on a building that has the levels of mold that place has WITH children in the school.. That was the issue.

  • Brooke

    I can agree that any and every one that enters the school should be in a safe place. I’ve seen students cleaning up this stuff & whoever put them up to it should be in trouble. It’s pure nonsense. Those high school walls have been cracked for some time now and the mold has always been noticeable. It’s not my job to inspect the school, the principal, janitor etc should be the ones looking not a has been.

  • Dave vest

    That’s all I’m saying Brooke. I don’t want to argue with anyone including you. I just want best for my kids. I’m just a concerned daddy. I promise you I don’t have anything against anyone. I want what’s best for my kids and VHS. Hugh is a good person from what I can tell. If anyone had a personal agenda, that’s between them and whomever. I can promise you that’s not me.

  • Blake

    Dave: Brooke is the typical ignorant witness on the sidelines of something she knows nothing about with all the answers. Monroe is not the sore loser in this equation- only the students. And addressing the comment regarding a teacher had to report to the superintendent other than the principals- those involved know the truth regarding that issue as well. Have opinions- but let’s make them valid- which means- have facts and not what you heard from someone who knows who knows something to back it up

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