WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A messy situation got cleaned up in a hurry after CBS2 aired a story about trailers used as classrooms in one Monmouth County school district.
Earlier Monday, streaming service CBSN New York reported on the condition of the trailers that sit in the back of Central Elementary School in Wall Township. They were supposed to house fifth graders this upcoming school year.
That’s not going to happen now.
Late Monday afternoon, Wall Schools Superintendent Cheryl Dyer emailed parents to say the district has decided against putting the young students in the trailers. They’ll instead be moved into the main building.
Air testing has also been done and the Monmouth County Health Department has been asked to come look at the trailers, the superintendent wrote.
Once deemed repaired, the district said it will use the trailers for other instructional purposes.
The public concern was evident when parents told CBS2’s Alice Gainer about the trailers’ deteriorating conditions, including rotting wood and water damage.
Some said the cosmetic issues were only a small part of the problem. They were more fearful that the situation inside the trailers was worse.
“Very disappointed and horrified knowing that my child will be starting in two weeks in fifth grade and she’ll be entering those trailers,” parent Jennifer Jasaitis said at the time.
“It’s definitely been ignored I feel like for it to look like this,” parent Jackie Philhower lamented.
Parents were initially told repairs would be completed before the start of school in September. According to a district report, work was supposed to begin on July 10, but the board of education said it didn’t actually start until this past Friday, Aug. 16. That prompted many concerned mothers and fathers to demand testing be done to make sure there weren’t any issues that could pose a health risk.
“We feel that we have a right to know what exactly happened in this situation, how the trailers were allowed to get in this state in the first place and we would like the results of the mold testing, a structural assessment, before any decision is made,” parent Samantha Bassett said.
“We’re pretty united in the fact that our children are not stepping foot in these until we get some answers,” Bassett added.
“You don’t want the students to come in being scared about what is going on in the trailers,” Philhower added.
Gainer initially reached out to Superintendent Dyer’s office and was given an email statement saying, “The cottages are being repaired and all appropriate measures are being taken to ensure environmentally safe conditions for staff and students. It is anticipated that all necessary repairs will be completed in time for the start of the school year.”
Gainer then went to Dyer’s office to get further clarification, but her assistant said she would not go on camera.
Not long after, the email was sent out to district families impacted.
Parents were still expected to attend a board of education meeting on Tuesday night to get more answers.