Despite freezing weather conditions, Baltimore school students are still expected to go to school without properly heated classrooms. With no signs of government intervention in sight, Samierra Jones, a senior at Coppin State University and a graduate of the Baltimore City Public School system, is calling for help via crowdfunding site GoFundMe.
“Students are still required to attend classes that are freezing and expected [to] wear their coats to assist in keeping them warm,” Jones writes on the fundraiser page. “How can you teach a child in these conditions?”
Launched on January 3, the fundraiser has already exceeded its $20,000 goal with $51,290 raised as of press time. Jones says all proceeds will be used toward outerwear and the purchase of approximately 600 space heaters. She is also taking donations of hats, gloves, coats, socks, and other winter items to help keep students warm. “If you would like to donate what you have, please contact us via email,” she adds.
Baltimore students are no stranger to shabby classroom conditions. As Business Insider notes, the city’s schools have been forced to close in the past due to aging piping, poor building insulation, and lack of funds for maintenance. On Wednesday, one-third of Baltimore’s 180 schools received complaints about the frigid temperatures.
The Baltimore Teachers Union is also getting involved, demanding that schools close until heating issues are addressed.
“I implore that you close schools in the district until your facilities crew has had time to properly assess and fix the heating issues within the affected schools in Baltimore City,” Baltimore Teachers Union President Marietta English wrote in a letter that was hand-delivered to the school system’s CEO, Sonja Santelises, on Wednesday. “This is the best way to ensure the safety of our members and our children,” English continued.
While the school system reportedly closed four of its schools on Wednesday (Calverton Elementary/Middle School, Elementary/Middle Alternative Program, KIPP Harmony Academy, and Lakeland Elementary/Middle School), parents are concerned that the issue impacts many more locations.