BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After receiving complaints about students being bundled up in frigid classrooms this week, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford is blaming the local school boards.
Photos of children in huddled in coats and gloves in a Baltimore school were widely shared on Facebook Tuesday, when the high for the day was just 26 degrees.
“It needs to be done and I feel as though we shouldn’t react to situations, we should prevent situations from happening. Everyone knows winter is coming,” one teacher said. “It shouldn’t be something that we should stress about or should fuss about. It should be something that’s already accommodated for us. We want our students to be the best that they can be.”
When a Twitter user started tagging Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Rutherford in complaints about the issue Wednesday, Rutherford fired back.
“Our Administration has fully funded Baltimore City Schools for the entirety of our time in office,” he wrote. “In fact, we provided more than the formulas called for. The money is not reaching the classroom–ask North Ave. why?”
Baltimore City Public Schools district office is located on North Avenue.
The system said the schools with heating problems or burst pipes that caused water damage are a priority.
Rutherford went on to say there are audits currently being conducted to find out how state money is being used in local schools.
“The schools are controlled by the local school board and the Superintendent who are both under the City’s control,” he wrote… “If they were my kids, I’d be down there at the Superintendent’s office seeking answers! I’d be calling the local officials asking why this is happening?”
The Baltimore Teachers Union asked administrators to shut down schools for the rest of the week.
Frederick Douglass High School was one of six schools to close Wednesday.
“Real bad cold, like, if you go out into the hallway, you can see your breath,” student Daquan Mits said.
“I don’t care about no cold. My education is more important,” student Keonsha Smith said.
“Any good mother would take their children out of school,” said parent Chastity Spears. “The water is cold! It’s unbearable. There’s icicles in the classroom. The cold water jug is frozen solid. It’s inhumane for these children.”
Spears picked her first grader up from Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary.
Baltimore City Public Schools COO J. Keith Scroggins said; in older buildings, heating systems simply can’t keep up.
“We are doing our best trying to match keeping the building as warm and comfortable as possible, with the fact that these kids have to be in school and educated,” Scroggins said. “When we close schools, we have gotten a significant amount of calls from parents saying that they count on us to feed their children during the day.”
BCPS said it doesn’t have a dollar figure on the damages inside schools yet.