Excessive heat in classrooms comes
before SPUSD Board

May 23, 2014
Santa Paula News

Very hot conditions in classrooms during the recent heat wave was called deplorable before trustees of the Santa Paula Unified School District Wednesday.

Carolyn Ishida, President of the Santa Paula Federation of Teachers, lambasted the district for not taking action to alleviate the situation. She told the board that classroom temperatures exceeded 94 degrees on multiple days. She related that both students and staff experienced “heat exhaustion,” characterized by weakness, light-headiness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, bloody noses and poor breathing.

She said, “One student was sent back to class because the non-medical diagnosis was, that’s how the body cools itself. In reality the student was in danger of a heat stroke.” Ishida related that teachers at Isbell Middle School called the office to request water. The response was “Have them drink out of the fountain.” She noted that absenteeism at the high school ranged from 85 to 114 students per class that week. On the last Friday of the heat wave 54 substitute requests were submitted, an all-time district record.

Ishida told trustees, “The issue of air conditioning is not going away. It is not going to be swept under the rug. When top management disregards the health and safety of the students and of their employees, they obviously need training, more sensitivity and better decision-making. If top management ignores the welfare of the students and employees then they need to be replaced.” A couple of other speakers expressed similar concerns.

Since the issue was raised under the public comment section of the agenda the board was not permitted to discuss the issue, but at the end of the meeting several board members acknowledged the problem and asked that it be placed on a future agenda.

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