• Mold, bugs found during inspection at east Charlotte elementary school

    By: Stephanie Tinoco

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Mold, cockroaches and spiders were discovered at an east Charlotte elementary school.

    Children as young as 5 years old have been exposed at Devonshire Elementary School.

    Inspectors were on campus Friday checking every bit of the school.

    [Teacher posts photos of unfavorable conditions in classroom]

    [CMS superintendent addresses mold issue at school]

    In the inspection report, the inspector says the school needs pest control treatment ASAP.

    They cited a heavy mold smell in the kindergarten hall and "microbial growth" in the in-school suspension classroom and in the teachers' lounge area.

    Mold was found on bookshelves, chairs and walls.

    School district officials said the health department has to inform them if they need to send out any notification.

    Even though there was growing mold found at the school, it didn't earn a score low enough for them to do that.

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg School officials said work orders would be filled within 48 hours because this is an urgent matter.

    "It doesn't have to be a bad condition for one child to be impacted,” said Brian Kasher, former manager of health and safety at CMS.

    Channel 9 reporter Stephanie Tinoco asked Kasher what that 48-hour response time really means.

    "It doesn't mean they're going to fix it (that quickly) and it doesn't mean those kids are going to be any safer in 48 hours,” Kasher said.

    Kasher said that just means someone has to look at it and determine the next steps from there.

    Despite the inspector citing growing mold and heavy mold smells in classrooms, the school was still rated an 87.5, or a B rating.

    "Parents really have a right to know,” Kasher said. “A grade B, there's no reason parents would look into this report."

    CMS officials said that a B rating does not warrant parent notification.

    "CMS can give me (a) robocall if they're having a pizza party,” Kasher said, “I would expect they can give me a robocall if there was mold found in my child's classroom."

    A spokesperson with the district said parents can always check their child's school inspection report by visiting the county website.

    Inspectors said they saw air fresheners in the air conditioning vents of those moldy rooms.

    "It’s alarming, and this school needs to maybe close down and address, it depending on how it's affecting the children,” said Kerri-Ann Burke, who lives nearby.

    Channel 9 reached out to the district and asked how soon the issue will be addressed and if it requires this school to be closed.

    District officials have not responded.

    Channel 9 investigated unsafe conditions at other schools of the past year.

    In June, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools promised to clean up mold, bugs and rat droppings at North Mecklenberg High School.

    In January, Channel 9 broke the investigation at a Providence High School after getting complaints that students were getting sick.

    There was mold on the ceiling.

    CMS officials sent Channel 9 this statement:

    "Any parent who is interested to learn about a County Health inspection conducted at any CMS school can visit the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s website, all inspection reports are uploaded and located there.

    "The county health department would inform CMS if any type of messaging is needed regarding health inspection reports and conditions found, a “B” inspection report would not warrant notification. The same Health Department messaging protocol is followed as in cases of a Health issue."

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