The intense cold that has been sweeping the nation for the last week has put one state’s school in the spotlight when it was discovered that hundreds of classrooms have no heat. Some schools have canceled school, but other schools are forcing students to attend, apparently suggesting that they wrap themselves in layers and blankets to stay warm.
Decade-old school buildings in Baltimore, Maryland have been an absolute hell to be in according to many who attend these schools. The bitter cold right now has only made conditions worse in the poorly insulated buildings with no working heat.
With minimal assistance from state officials, Baltimore residents have taken the initiative and started a GoFundMe.
“Students are still required to attend classes that are freezing and expected to wear their coats to assist in keeping them warm,” the donation description reads. “How can you teach a child in these conditions?”
The reported temperature for the last week has ranged as high as the 20s and as low as single digits. These poor conditions have prompted protest from teachers, parents and even students, who have explained to the local media how tough these conditions have been on them.
“As of now, I have on four shirts, two hoodies and a jacket,” Dennis Morgan, a high school senior told NPR. “It’s kind of hard to get comfortable when you’ve got so many layers on and you’re not used to it and you’re still cold.”
The GoFundMe page, which was created on January 3, the initial goal had an initial goal of $20,000. The money was to go towards buying 600 space heaters and additional coats, according to Business Insider. As of Jan. 6, the donations have exceeded $67,000.
Baltimore Teachers Union President A. Marietta English did not hide her disdain when writing an open letter to state officials. “High school students are not going to stay in the class; they’re going to leave,” she said. “And our little ones are subjected to this, and it’s just an unhealthy environment, it’s not ideal for our children to be sitting there trying to learn and concentrate when you’re cold. You can’t do it.”
Baltimore officials have yet to respond to the mounting pressure to cancel school and fix the deplorable conditions that students are forced to endure. But at least citizens are stepping up to try to fix the problem.