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Friday, May 27, 2022
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MOLD, MILDEW FORCE CLOSURE OF CHS CLASSES

Mold, mildew and dust have driven teachers and students from eight classrooms at Central High School.
The music building at the school, the last structure to be built on campus, has suffered from the fungus problem for a number of years, said Cecil Benjamin, president of the St. Croix chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. Thursday, however, the teachers could no longer stand the allergic reactions they have been suffering from and left the building. The building also houses school counselors.
"We’ve decided we won’t work under those conditions," Benjamin said. "They are not conducive to teaching and learning."
Until the end of the school year music classes will be relocated somewhere else on campus.
Benjamin said the AFT has agreed to give school administrators until the beginning of next school year to solve the problem in the affected building. "We’re doing the best we can under adverse circumstances," he said. "But there is no way we’ll tolerate the situation when August comes around."
The AFT has filed a number of grievances in the last several years against the Department of Education over conditions in other areas of the school. The CHS Parent Teacher Association is also considering a lawsuit against the department. That will be the topic of a PTA meeting at the school on Sunday.
Benjamin said the combination of "deplorable" conditions at many of the territory’s schools, low pay and the lack of pay raises will force many teachers to leave the public school system for jobs on the mainland.
"(Teachers) cannot continue to tolerate it," he said. "People don’t seem to have respect for teachers. We’re going to have a serious problem come August of this year."

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Mold, mildew and dust have driven teachers and students from eight classrooms at Central High School.
The music building at the school, the last structure to be built on campus, has suffered from the fungus problem for a number of years, said Cecil Benjamin, president of the St. Croix chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. Thursday, however, the teachers could no longer stand the allergic reactions they have been suffering from and left the building. The building also houses school counselors.
"We’ve decided we won’t work under those conditions," Benjamin said. "They are not conducive to teaching and learning."
Until the end of the school year music classes will be relocated somewhere else on campus.
Benjamin said the AFT has agreed to give school administrators until the beginning of next school year to solve the problem in the affected building. "We’re doing the best we can under adverse circumstances," he said. "But there is no way we’ll tolerate the situation when August comes around."
The AFT has filed a number of grievances in the last several years against the Department of Education over conditions in other areas of the school. The CHS Parent Teacher Association is also considering a lawsuit against the department. That will be the topic of a PTA meeting at the school on Sunday.
Benjamin said the combination of "deplorable" conditions at many of the territory’s schools, low pay and the lack of pay raises will force many teachers to leave the public school system for jobs on the mainland.
"(Teachers) cannot continue to tolerate it," he said. "People don’t seem to have respect for teachers. We’re going to have a serious problem come August of this year."