CREATED Jun. 11, 2013
THERMAL - Parents at Westside Elementary School in Thermal complain their children are met by unsafe playground conditions every day.
"I've been a mom for this school for 19 years and I've never, never, never seen the school in this condition," shared Shannon Fuentes, a mother of two children who attend Westside School. "I have pictures to prove the uneahlthy conditions that my kids have to drink out of. There's mold, mildew and bird feces in the water fountains, and it's been that way for several months."
KMIR 6 tried to go inside the school to investigate, but the Coachella Valley Unified School District did not allow our team to go in and shoot video nor speak with anyone, including the principal. Fuentes, however, contributed more information saying that the problem with the water fountain was fixed.
"It took us to call the media a week ago, and all of a sudden yesterday, she cleaned up the mess" said Fuentes.
Another parent voiced the same thing.
"It's been six months. Today, I went out there and now the water faucets are clean, but we had to go through all this in order for her to do something," said Elizabeth Borjas. The problem, they say, is negligence by the principal and the district.
"The bridge that the kids walk across on the jungle gym has been cracked for a long time, there is only caution tape across it," added Fuentes, "The slide has been missing since October, leaving sharp objects for the kids to get cut on."
Superintendent at Coachella Valley Unified School District, Darryl Adams, is aware of this equipment problem.
"The only thing I knew was that there was a broken slide, and we have ordered a new slide. Unfortunately, school's out on Friday, but it'll be prepared when students' return," said Superintendent Adams adding that he is ready to meet with the parents to go over any concerns. He emphasized that Westside students are not in any danger, and that school safety is the district's main priority.
The group of parents, however, say conditions at the school cannot be ignored especially after voicing their concerns to the principal many times.
"We're taxpayers, we have the right for our kids to have a fun, safe environment when we drop them off here at school, and it's not happening," said Fuentes.