BALTIMORE, Md.—The Baltimore Teachers Union has asked the city to close public schools that are unable to provide adequate
heat until they can be repaired, after teachers reported classroom temperatures in the 40s during the early January cold wave. Expecting teachers and children to “endure bursting boilers, drafty windows, frigid temperatures in classrooms, and risk getting sick in these ‘less than ideal’ conditions is utterly ridiculous,” union President Marietta English wrote in a Jan. 3 letter to Sonja Brookins Santelises, the chief executive officer of Baltimore City Public Schools. About 60 schools, about one-third of those in the system, have had heating problems in the last two weeks, Dr. Santelises told the New York Times. Former pro football player Aaron Maybin, now a Baltimore elementary-school teacher, told the Washington Post that “it’s infuriating” when he’s in the room with his pupils, “and they can see their breath in the room, and some of them don’t have winter coats, so they’re shivering, their lips are chapped.” Santelises blamed the problems on “systemic underinvestment for a number of years.” All city schools were closed Jan. 4-5 because of the snow and building conditions.
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