BALTIMORE (WJZ)– State Comptroller Peter Franchot and the NAACP sent a letter to the Department of Justice arguing that many of the schools without air conditioning in low income communities is a civil rights issue.
50,000 area kids are going to class in schools without air conditioning. Skyrocketing temperatures inside area classrooms without air conditioning. Now the state comptroller is asking the feds to step in.
“It’s a health issue, it’s a safety issue,” said Franchot.
He and the NAACP called the lack of air conditioning a “blatant neglect of students civil rights.”
36 schools in Baltimore County still don’t have A/C, along with 76 school buildings in Baltimore City.
Franchot says those schools are in “historically low-income communities”
“The poor kids and the moderate income kids are being treated differently from the more affluent kids and that’s wrong,” said Franchot.
In Baltimore County, schools without air conditioning have already been closed four times this year due to high heat and students here in Baltimore City have already had two early dismissals in the past few weeks.
“We’ve seen pictures of crayons melting. Crayons melt at 105 to 127 degrees,” said parent, Lily Rowe.
Rowe says many of those hot schools are in poorer communities.
“It sends the message that some communities and some schools are important enough to have the Taj Mahal of schools, while other communities and other schools are left to rot like they live in a third world country,” said Rowe.
Now she hopes the department of justice could make a difference. Department of justice officials say the request will be reviewed.
Baltimore county officials tell WJZ they are urgently moving forward to install air conditioning in schools. City schools did not respond to our request for comment.