Teacher Says Mold In School Is Making Her Sick - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/27/02

Teacher Says Mold In School Is Making Her Sick

1st grade teacher, Joyce Harmon, wears a mask over her face when she walks the halls at West Elementary school. She believes there's mold in the building and it's making her sick.

"When I'm not here, I feel fine and when I'm here, I don't feel good. So, there has to be a correlation of some sort," Joyce Harmon says.

Moss Point School officials admit leaks, especially after heavy rain, have been a persistent problem in several buildings in the district. In fact, after Tropical Storm Isidore, students at some schools were shifted around while workers dried out the damp buildings.

A company called First Response was hired for that job and to test the air. School officials say they've found no mold.

"Our testing shows that there was no mold at that date and time," Dr. AJ Scardino says.

"The air quality now is clear and conducive for learning and that there should be no problems here at West Elementary," Principal Stephanie Gruich says.

But Harmon is not convinced. She says she's had all kinds of health problems since she started working at the school in August.

"It's really bad when I'm in the cafeteria or hallway for anything over five or ten minutes. I have an asthma attack, and I just simply cannot breath, and then I started breaking out in rashes," Harmon says.

"Teachers and students are sick all the time because we carry so many different types of germs and things like that, but I'm not a doctor. I can't pin point who is sick from what, so what I go by are the results we received from First Response," Principal Gruich says.

Harmon says the school needs to take a second look.

"I'm sure the administration thinks they've done everything, but when you still have sick students and sick teachers, then something else needs to be done," Harmon says.

Moss Point Schools Superintendent Tesse Harper says money to repair leaky roofs in the district was recently approved and work should begin in December.

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