Parents at Olive Branch Elementary are outraged, claiming the school is so dirty it's making their children severely sick.
"I was concerned, trying to figure out why is my daughter so sick. So she would come to school, sick excessively, had surgery thinking it would make it better. It didn't make her better. She came home for the summer and she was perfectly fine," says parent Heather Fox.
Olive Branch Elementary Principal Sunnie Barkley called in an environmental engineer to look into the problem. The engineer claims, "We did air sampling in the room in question also several different areas of the school. Didn't find anything as far as visible mold growth."
The engineer says there was a small amount of mold in the dish washing area, but it is an area that children are not exposed to and the mold was promptly cleaned. He adds that mole spores indoors were at the normal indoor range.
Fox says her daughter is on allergy shots and has a compromised immune system, making her daughter extremely susceptible to an unclean environment. But another parent of an Olive Branch Elementary student says her daughter has an autoimmune disease and never experienced a problem.
"As a parent I believe if there were extra mold or something dangerous in this school that she would be one of the very ones to get sick. We have not experienced that. Quite the opposite actually," says parent Kristin Hockman.
At Friday's meeting where the school released the health inspection results, parents are still mad saying the school is skirting the issue. Fox says, "Had it not gotten to the point that the teachers are making this like we're on a witch hunt I probably would've been happy, but I'm not confident."
As to why parents are making the claims that Olive Branch Elementary is unclean, Hockman says, "I think as a parent of a child who's had chronic health problems, you always want something to blame it on."
At the press conference, the school added that air vents are changed monthly. As for a squirrel that dropped from the ceiling in a classroom, Barkley says it happened approximately three to four years ago. The school says they hired a new pest control company one month ago; the company put out live traps in the school's attic and are bringing in a wildlife group to make the school "squirrel free."
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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