PHILADELPHIA, September 22, 2021 – Today, several City Councilmembers banded together once again, issuing a joint statement following Friday’s breaking news of excessive mold growth inside Frankford High School, and the refusal of School District officials to allow PFTHW Director of Environmental Science, Jerry Roseman, to investigate:
“The news of this appalling discovery of rapidly growing mold inside Frankford High School – breaking as we held a press conference announcing legislation I introduced, to upgrade requirements for inspection standards for asbestos and mold in school buildings – is nothing short of infuriating,” said Councilmember Derek Green (At-Large). “To see photos of musical instruments and equipment, furniture covered in mold is horrifying to say the least. What’s more troubling is knowing that Jerry Roseman was denied access to the building to properly assess the situation, which speaks volumes and further drives home the point that there is absolutely no transparency from the School District.”
In addition to Councilmember Green’s bill that was introduced on Friday, Councilmember Helen Gym (At-Large) introduced her own resolution calling for joint hearings of the Committees on Children and Youth and Finance to look at a plan for funding a comprehensive remediation and modernization of the City’s school facilities.
“With this bill, Council is asserting our responsibility to determine what oversight must look like, and legislating it into action,” Gym said. “There is no question that this is long overdue and the lack of transparency at Frankford High underscores the urgent need for these reforms. District families need to know that there is an entity holding the district accountable to safe construction and the completion of major projects that impact the health and well-being of our students and staff.”
Additional Councilmembers also expressed concern and emphasized the urgent need for action, accountability, and transparency.
“This is yet another example of the District’s failure to be transparent about the state of our schools and accountable to our communities. The District has an obligation to allow PFT leaders like Jerry Roseman to do their jobs. Families need to feel reassured that their kids are attending safe schools, and students need to feel like their well-being is being prioritized,” says Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large). “This pattern of behavior by the District demonstrates that neither is happening and it’s time they did better. To mend the broken trust between families and District leadership, it is essential that the District take concrete steps toward incorporating parent voices into decision-making, providing clear information on the status of facility improvements, and giving students and staff the tools they need to succeed.”
“The District’s refusal to let Mr. Roseman into Frankford High is abhorrent. Educators, staff, students, and parents deserve transparency and accountability from the district. It is the only way we will build trust and ensure that everyone entering our school buildings is safe. As a school district graduate and now parent of district students, these actions from the district are completely unacceptable and cannot be tolerated,” said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At-Large).
Councilmember Mark Squilla (1st District) added, “The right of all our children, school faculty and teachers to have access to a safe learning environment within Philadelphia schools is fundamental and I support every endeavor that will help to ensure we achieve that.”