Hundreds of kids will move to a different school, following air quality test

BESSEMER, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of kids in Bessemer have been forced to move to a different school for the rest of the academic year.

This action comes amid concerns that their school, Abrams Elementary, is making them sick.

A crew was at the school this morning to test the air quality in the building. The goal is to find out what — if anything — is causing students and teachers to wear medical masks in the school building.​

Bessemer Schools Superintendent Keith Stewart hopes to find that missing link by the end of the week – when the results come in.

“We really don’t know whether or not the tests are going to come back positive or negative,” Stewart said. “But we’re not going sit around and wait.”

That’s why Stewart decided to move students and teachers from Abrams Elementary to Charles F. Hard Elementary, beginning Thursday.

“What’s important is that we keep our children and employees safe, and we just felt like this was the best thing to do at this time,” Stewart said.

“Just to get my son out of harm’s way, I’m fine with that,” said Markeeta Haskin, whose son, Jeremi, is in the second grade at Abrams.

Haskin said Jeremi suffers from asthma and allergies, and takes several medications before he goes to school to keep his symptoms under control.

Less than a year ago, the other half of Abrams, a second building meant to house elementary school-aged students, was closed for renovation after mold was found.

As students have been attending class in the Pre-K building since then, Haskin and other parents said they didn’t know that testing was going to take place there Tuesday.

“They have our addresses, they have our phone numbers, they have my email,” Haskin said. “I’m very involved with my son’s school and they see me quite a bit, so I just feel like they could tell me something. They could talk to somebody and get the word out.”

Candice Davis, who has two asthmatic children at Abrams, said she has been complaining to Bessemer City Schools since students were moved out of the elementary building and into the Pre-k biulding for the 2016-2017 school year.

“You have had students depressed and missing classes; teachers missing classes, depressed, not even wanting to come to their job, that they love, because of the conditions on a daily basis. And now it’s urgent? The last two weeks of school? I don’t see the point of that.”

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