Carl Monday investigates dangerous classrooms

Carl Monday investigation into basement classroom awaits fire department update

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Benjamin Franklin Elementary is one of Cleveland's oldest school buildings.

During the cold war, the basement of the school served as a bomb shelter in case of nuclear attack.

Today, the basement has a newly renovated student cafeteria, a music room and a computer room. But, there's a room in the basement that is cause for concern. The storage room also doubled as a classroom for two to three students with disabilities.

Chief Investigator, Carl Monday, has obtained pictures and public record documents that illustrate the poor conditions in the makeshift classroom and the history of concern surrounding the use of the basement posed by the fire department.

In fact, a Cleveland Fire Department inspector wrote in a report that the basement was, "Good for keeping bombs and tornadoes out.  Bad for getting children out in a fire."

Monday took his findings to Tammie Sebastian, the local representative for the Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with disabilities.  She responded to the photos by saying, "I don't know how a teacher could teach in this environment.  I don't know how a child could learn in this environment.  I don't know how anyone could think this is OK for one second."

Carl Monday also took his concerns to the school district. CMSD spokeswoman, Roseann Canfora, declined all interview requests with Monday, but in a statement said allegations of students with disabilities being housed in the basement were baseless.

Carl Monday is asking the tough questions and his full report will air Thursday on Cleveland 19 News at 11.

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