Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

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By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

Parents Rally at SMMUSD HQ in Santa Monica, to Protest the Sudden Closure of John Muir Elementary School due to Mold

"The mold was known about for years and not addressed. Kids got sick and now the school is closed and we don't know when we'll get our neighborhood school back."

 

October 13, 2022

Parents Rally at SMMUSD HQ in Santa Monica, to Protest the Sudden Closure of John Muir Elementary School due to Mold

10/6/22: Parents met at SMMUSD headquarters, to protest the sudden closure of John Muir Elementary school due to mold. John Muir was abruptly closed following the District's announcement that toxic mold found at the school presented a health risk to students and staff.

The school closure forced the dispersal of 280 students and 42 staff to various schools within the SMMUSD school district, said the group of parents in a press release.

"If you don't listen when your employees tell you there's mold, the problem gets worse and you end up spending millions on mitigation and lawsuits. That's exactly what's happening, and it's our kids who suffer. It's indicative of the fundamentally problematic culture of our school board and district management. The mold was known about for years and not addressed. Kids got sick and now the school is closed and we don't know when we'll get our neighborhood school back." Said Miles Warner, a parent who's running for the school board.

Some Muir parents assert that John Muir has the highest concentration of lower income students in SMMUSD and has not received the necessary support to address persistent inequities in student achievement. They say they fear that learning loss from distance learning coupled with the closure of the school will further hinder students' academic progress.

Parents Rally at SMMUSD HQ in Santa Monica, to Protest the Sudden Closure of John Muir Elementary School due to Mold

"Our beloved John Muir Elementary has long been underfunded, under-resourced and neglected by the SMMUSD. Despite this inequitable treatment, the parents, teachers and students, with the support of our local neighborhood, have built John Muir into a vibrant and unique learning community -- a true neighborhood school. After years of facility neglect, our school was unceremoniously taken from us in a process that served to confuse, disempower and disenfranchised the members of our community, many of whom are already marginalized. We have had enough of the inequitable treatment, broken promises and vague plans for the future of our school. We implore Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati and the SMMUSD Board of Education to commit to a defined and purposeful plan to rebuild and reopen John Muir Elementary as a fully resourced neighborhood school -- to bring equity to a community that has for too long been ignored." Stated John Muir parent and local civil rights and disability rights attorney, TJ Hill.

Some parents allege that SMMUSD school district officials knew about the mold problem for years yet incumbents running for re-election refuse to turn over any emails related to the matter in PRA requests.

 

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