CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It was business as usual today at Louis Agassiz Elementary. Students filled classrooms the day after chunks of plaster fell form the school cafeteria ceiling. School CEO Eric Gordon told Cleveland 19 the 87-year-old building is structurally sound. But the cafeteria will remain closed until repairs are completed early next week.
"We would never put students in a situation we feel is unsafe," Gordon said.
No one doubts the school CEO's sincerity, but his accuracy can be questioned. Just last week, a Carl Monday investigation questioned how hundreds of students at Ben Franklin Elementary could continue to use the school lunchroom and classes located in the basement. A school, the fire department said, had "imminent life safety issues." Monday uncovered violations that go back to the start of the school year, and even decades.
One of those classrooms included a former storage room used to tutor children with learning and reading disabilities. Photos obtained by Monday revealed a room with bad lighting, peeling paint and a toilet leaking from above. Monday showed those photos to children's rights attorney Aimee Gilman.
Reacting to the photos, Gilman said, "If a child who was not disabled was made to spend time in a room that looked like this, everybody would scream bloody murder. But somehow, because it's a child with disability, it makes it OK." Since Monday's investigation aired, someone sent him some paint shavings from the wall of that room. Cleveland 19 News plans to have it tested for lead.
Monday also questioned the fire department as to why the fire marshal deemed the school was violation-free at the same time his own inspector wrote, "the basement was designed as a bomb and tornado shelter. Good for keeping bombs and tornadoes out. Bad for getting children out in a fire."
The fire department said it would get back to us in twenty minutes with an explanation. It's been a week and still no response.
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