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Kill Your Air Conditioning

One Middleborough Elementary School parent challenges school and county officials to turn off their air conditioning during hot school days.

Alan Southworth gets a little frustrated when he hears county officials say the lack of air conditioning in some Baltimore County Public Schools is no "big deal."

"We're tired of sending our kids to school where it's 94 degrees at 7:30 in the morning," said Southworth, the parent of an 8-year-old daughter at the school and a member of Air Conditioning For Middleborough.

"This is supposed to be an all is all," Southworth said during a . "Is all all or does all mean half?"

"They have to do something to fix this," he said, adding that many of the adults in the Governor's Reception Room inside the State House wouldn't tolerate the conditions his daughter and others tolerate at the school.

"If the air conditioning is not that big a deal, I was told directly last June that it was only 17 days that our kids are subjected to this kind of heat—17 days," said Southworth. "They obviously don't have the funds. What they should do if all is all, they should shut down the air conditioning in every Baltimore County government building every Baltimore County public school until every school has air conditioning. Maybe with the money they save from all of them maybe they can pay for 100 percent air conditioning."

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Alan January 27, 2012 at 04:23 PM
My heartfelt thanks for all of the supportive comments on this issue. I'm encouraged to see the outpouring of concern stemming from parents living in differing parts of Baltimore County. The only way we're going to resolve this imbalance is by working together and pooling our respective communities into one voice to show that this is a county-wide issue. To Moe and MTH: Imagine the heartbreak of walking your 7 year-old little girl up the sidewalk leading to her school knowing the temperature INSIDE her 1st grade classroom was 94 degrees at 7:30 AM. Seeing her step off the bus exhausted with her face flush, her hair and clothes soaked with sweat, and her toes shriveled up when I took off her shoes and socks brought me to tears--and I've been outraged ever since. Schools now start in August and run through late-June so children now are subjected to these types of temperatures a lot longer than we did 20+ years ago. Myself and other parents at Middleborough offered to privately purchase the 25 individual air conditioning units needed to bring relief to all of the non-air conditioned classrooms as well as the cafeteria if Baltimore County would pay for their installation per their requirements and were denied. If anyone would like to join our efforts, please email your information to ac4middleborough@gmail.com
Paul Amirault January 27, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Sheriff Arpaio does it with tents and pink clothes in Phoenix <[;-)) Just kidding folks!
Paul Amirault January 27, 2012 at 05:08 PM
The school system's obstinate behavior in these kind of matters just always amazes me. Performance Goal #4 from the BCPS 2011-12 "Blueprint for Progress" states "All students will be educated in school environments that are safe and conducive to learning". Performance Indicator for Goal #4 is as follows: "4.1 All schools and school communities will maintain safe, orderly, nurturing environments (BCPS standard)" http://www.bcps.org/offices/super/pdf/blueprint-for-progress.pdf What am I failing to understand here?
Paul Amirault January 27, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Performace Indicator 4.3 states "Staff, students, parents/guardians, and community members will express satisfaction with the learning environment, climate, and school facilities. (BCPS standard)" Whatever that is supposed to mean?
Cathy Fialkowski January 27, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Do you have your AC on when the temps go over 90 degrees?
Alan January 27, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Paul...it means we need more people like you to stand with us and ask these simple questions...We supplied that very form within our presentation packets. In the October 19th Board of Public Works Hearing, Dr. Hairston stated that the process used in determining when schools would close due to extreme heat was when the heat index reached 95 degress by 9 am. Look at BCPS Rule 6303...you'll see that this was updated on 12/2011, 2 months after this statement, yet you will find that there is NO set time and temperature protocol...
johnny towson January 27, 2012 at 06:54 PM
The County and State are out of money. Their credit cards are maxed out. Until they shuffle priorities, there will be no money for AC. Focus on getting the county to make AC a priority and it can be done. Go through their budget. There are $100,000 crumbs everywhere but there is no one gathering them for a better purpose. Just a continual year to year shell game. If there were debt capacity, there are 6 groups that would lend the money and execute the installation tomorrow. But the County and State refuses to cut meaningfully from their budgets.
Paul Amirault January 27, 2012 at 06:57 PM
It's nutty. They will close a school at 5:30 AM on the obvious snowstorm that's on the radar but not here yet, but not close schools based on the forecast for high heat indexes which is generally very accurate. In addition to my blog post today about changing the school schedule, it would be nice to be able to deliver a web-based classroom for snow/hot days so some learning can still go on from home. Arguments will be not everyone has a computer. Provide them. Another argument will be some can't afford Internet access, I say the ISP providers should provide free of charge to every home with school age children the ability to connect via the Internet to the "Digital School" and block access to the rest of the Internet. Betcha they would end up with a bunch of new customers once installed.
Concerned Mom January 27, 2012 at 09:46 PM
MTH- If you do not work in these conditions then you have no right to comment!
Concerned Mom January 27, 2012 at 09:50 PM
moe green- if you do not work in these conditions, then you have no right to comment!
Concerned Mom January 27, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Since they won't give us AC, teachers and staff would love it if we just had a big, powerful commercial ceiling fan in each classroom. It would help a little bit.
Concerned Mom January 27, 2012 at 09:57 PM
We need to get the media involved- like the local news, maybe Tim Tooten, and put pressure on the right people. There needs to be follow-up. The county and state need to be held accountable!
Buck Harmon January 27, 2012 at 10:10 PM
How about a " occupy hot schools" movement...? that'll get their attention..
Cathy Fialkowski January 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM
I've contacted Tim Tooten numerous times about Middleborough's fight, and not once has he ever responded. My guess is he's buds with Hairston.
Concerned Mom January 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM
We need to formally invite our local reps, the govenor, bcps big wigs, and the media to actually come and spend a few hours in the hottest classrooms and see how much work they can accomplished!
Alan January 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
"Concerned Mom", please email us a ac4middleborough@gmail.com and get on our mailing list...we need more parents like you...
Alan January 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM
MTH...please read my comments below...if you still feel the way you do, so be it.
Alan January 27, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Moe, you are aware that we offered to purchase these units with our own private monies don't you? If not, please read again.
Alan January 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM
We did just that and all we've heard in response were crickets chirping in the distance...please Concerned Mom, send us an email.
Other Tim January 28, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Why does it seem the roads budget is never cut? I would guess the amount of money being spent on the work being done at Charles Street and the Beltway would put air conditioning in every school, with money left over to build a couple of new schools.
Buck Harmon January 28, 2012 at 01:36 AM
It's time for the good ol American way to kick in folks.... If what you have done to date has not been effective, and you feel that your children could potentially be at risk in some way, it would be your responsibility to insist on an immediate remedy. The students should not have to face another year of the same neglect.
Buck Harmon January 28, 2012 at 01:38 AM
If elected officials were public servants first, these situations would probably not exist..
Buck Harmon January 28, 2012 at 02:58 PM
If one school has air conditioning... all schools should have air conditioning.... period Responsible leadership would have the skill set required to make such improvement in education opportunity.
Concerned Mom January 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Buck- I agree 100%! And why does the front offices, computer lab, and library get to have it, while the rest of the staff has to suffer? It's ridiculous and inhumane!
Paul Amirault January 28, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I would guess the front office gets it because they are 12 month employees and are there in June, July, and August. But they could follow the student rule, if students go to school without A/C, so do administrators.
April S. January 29, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Air conditioning IS A BIG DEAL! i challenge all these county officials to spend an hour in a classroom that is above 90 degrees. i can tell you from experience being a senior in HS how hot it can get and how frustrating it is that kids are subjected to this. If we aren't comfortable how do they expect us to learn and be focused when we are sweating in our seats? What about the ones that have medical conditions that can't be in this heat? Teachers that are pregnant that have enough things going on with fatigue and hormones along with this heat. This affects students learning, i thought education was #1. It is a big deal!
MTH January 29, 2012 at 11:39 PM
I work outside for a living as does 3 billion people in the world. Not inhumane, you need to toughen up a bit!
Concerned Mom January 30, 2012 at 02:44 PM
MTH- Working outside means that you have access to some air flow- we do not. You can go and seek air conditioning if you want to- we cannot. We are bathrooming 16 special needs children in a small windowless bathroom that is over 90 degress, not to mention the heat and humidity in the classroom and also doing all of physical things required to run a classroom with active special needs kids. When you have done this job under these conditions, then you have a right to post on this topic, until then, you look completely ridiculous because you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about!
Concerned Mom January 30, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Here we go- let's get this done! http://www.comp.state.md.us/comptroller/initiatives/airconditioning/default.asp#
Tim January 30, 2012 at 04:16 PM
thanks, done.

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