Terrebonne schools still have mold and missing panels

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“I put a calculator down and when I got up the cables were right in front of me,” said Adalynn Foret, Terrebonne High 9th grade.

TERREBONNE PARISH, La. – One month after Hurricane Ida, some schools are already back in operation.

But parents in Terrebonne parish said they were concerned about sending their children back to the classroom.

“It just feels like they’re not allowing us to protect our children,” said Rhiannon Foret.

Parents were worried about images of what appeared to be mold and missing tiles.

Rhiannon Foret’s daughter is a freshman at Terrebonne High School. One of several schools in the parish schools that recently reopened after Hurricane Ida.

The school has been cleared for re-entry, but parents are now raising their concerns

“I’m upset that whoever we have to trust is not looking after our children right now,” Foret said.

Rhiannon said she felt the headmaster didn’t make sure the school was safe for students to return after she said her daughter nearly hit her head on a hanging wire at school Thursday.

“I put a calculator down and when I got up the cables were right in front of me,” said Adalynn Foret, Terrebonne High 9th grade.

Unfortunately, Terrebonne High School is just one of the schools parents say deal with asbestos and mold issues. The CDC reports that mold can have many harmful effects, especially for people with asthma.

Monique Lapoint has two children attending Houma Junior High School. She said she had to hurry up and pick up her asthmatic and autistic sons on their first day of school.

“You had breathing problems in the first third,” said Lapoint. “The floors were still covered in mold, the walls were still covered in mold, the basketball court was still covered in mold, and so was the stadium.”

“They don’t show anything to anyone or are transparent,” said Krystal Aucoin, Terrebonne’s parents.

Aucoin’s son attends HL Buregious High School, which currently shares a campus with South Terrebonne High. She said she found out about conditions in Terrebonne schools on social media and was concerned, but even more angry, that she was not informed about the problem.

“It really scared me, and the first thing I did was look for home schooling opportunities,” said Krystal Aucoin.

Today her son told her that tiles were missing in one of the buildings, but that there was no mold. For many parents, transparency seems to be the problem.

“Transparency. I’d like to see a little more of that,” says Matthew Ford, a member of the Terrebonne Parish School Board.

Ford says after the storm, a unanimous emergency vote gave the superintendent the power to make all decisions about the reopening.

“The people I’ve spoken to have assured me that the schoolhouse is ready for study. I might have a few questions about what I’ve seen,” said Ford.

“All schools are satisfactory in bringing students and faculty back to them. I don’t know what else to say,” said Philip Martin, superintendent of Terrebonne Parish Schools.

During a Zoom call Thursday, Superintendent Martin said air quality tests were conducted by a third party to clear schools for re-entry, and what the parents see is cosmetic only.

“Are there cosmetic problems in small areas? Yes, but they are not health problems,” he said.

Martin said every school had been given a release notice, but when asked if this was public we were informed it was not. He suggested that parents contact the school principals to see the letter for themselves.


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