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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Parents of Elementary School Students Still Worried About Mold

Several months after Knox County Schools addressed a mold issue at Shannondale Elementary, parents say children are still getting sick.

Following storms in 2011, a tree fell and damaged one classroom in a Shannondale portable building. According to a timeline of information from Knox County Schools, sometime after repairs were completed, the school discovered water damage in the sub-flooring of the classroom, leading to the formation of mold on a portion of the sub-floor.

Since September, the district has taken a number of actions to fix the problem.

At a meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre told parents current air samples show a safeenvironment for classroom use.

"We take issues of school safety and school security very seriously. We want to make sure we have a safe, healthy learning environment for our kids," said Dr. McIntyre.

Knox County Schools also consulted with the Knox County Health Department, which conducted an investigation into the mold findings. The report concluded "no unusual mold exposures to students."

However, several parents say children continue to suffer from headaches, bloody noses and breathing problems.

Wendy Buchheit has two children who attend Shannondale. She says her children's symptoms lessened while they were home during Christmas break, but returned with the start of the new semester.

She says the data collected by the school system isn't accurate enough.

"I hope they will ask the parents to document the symptoms so that we can prove to them that we do still have sick children," she said.

School officials listened to parents for nearly two hours about the issue. Dr. McIntyre said he takes issues of school safety andsecurity very seriously, and will consider further actions.

"We want to make sure every school in our system is a safe, healthy, inviting learning environment for our students so they can be successful academically," he said.

"We'll continue to take those issues seriously. We'll continue to look carefully and assess the situation and take appropriate action if necessary."

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