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Parents, Others Claim School Trailers At P.S. 48 Are Health Hazard

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Parents, teachers, lawmakers and others say temporary classrooms in trailers at P.S. 48 in Washington Heights are health hazards and are calling on the Department of Education to have them removed.

The trailers, known as Temporary Classroom Units, have been used for kindergarten students for over 10 years. But parents and others claim the trailers are a health hazard because they have rotting wood, poor ventilation, are moldy and smell like mildew.

“There was an incident where a teacher fell through the ramp because they’re so deteriorated,” Miriam Aristy-Farer with the Community Education Council told CBS 2’s Steve Langford.

Parents also say student asthma rates have been exacerbated by the conditions in and around the trailers.

Parent Emanuel Guzman said two of his children had classes in the trailers and he doesn’t want his third child exposed to any potential health problems.

“There is mold, the ceiling is falling, they have leaks,” he told 1010 WINS. “They have holes in the bottom — you’ve got raccoons in the night crawling around there, you’ve got rats. It’s hard, it’s hard for the kids.”

Parents and advocates have called for renovations at P.S. 48 to create more classroom space so the trailers can be removed. They say local district offices take up parts of the school, displacing the children.

“Children should not be going to schools in trailers, especially kindergarten students,” Aristy-Farer said.

“There are administrative offices on two floors of this building. If we we provided the children use of the building I am sure we could find a storage purpose for the trailers,” Aristy-Faber told CBS 2’s Langford.

The DOE released a statement, saying the trailers are “safe facilities.”

“Our proposed five-year capital plan calls for eliminating the roughly 300 trailers,” the DOE said in the statement. “Our trailers are inspected each year as part of our building survey. These are safe facilities. We will work with the school about any outstanding issues.”

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