2 Investigators: Schools Flunk Health Inspections

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of Chicago Public schools have gotten failing grades on city health inspections this year.

The critical violations health inspectors found could make kids sick, 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports.

CBS 2 found failing grades from the city health inspectors all across the city, including critical violations at Rosewell Mason School. 

Inspectors found food preparation refrigerators that were not keeping the food cold enough.

“Why did it take for a health inspector to come in here and find that out?” Mason school parent Brenda Edmond asked. “Makes me angry. This is their job to protect our kids so do — do your job.” 

Inspectors also found evidence of a rodent infestation at Mason School in a storage room and in a pre-kindergarten classroom. The report says more than 60 droppings were found.

Mason School’s Principal says the faulty fridges have been repaired or replaced.

“Obviously it’s important because we want to protect students from food-borne illnesses,” said principal Tanya Tolbert, who agreed the inspection results were disappointing.

At the Hope Institute Learning Academy, health inspectors ordered the school to throw out 1,000 half-pints of milk.  The school also had to replace one fridge and adjust another one that wasn’t cold enough.

And in classrooms at Hope Institute, inspectors found evidence of rodent infestation, including more than 50 mouse droppings and holes in the baseboards. Exterminators were called into fix the problem.

The reports were of serious concern to Chicago Public Schools officials.

“We’re always concerned about any school that would receive a failing grade,” CPS spokesperson Monique Bond said.

Documents also show several schools were cited for not having hot water at hand-washing sinks in their kitchens so workers could wash their hands and safely prepare food.

At the Johnson Elementary School, inspectors also found nine washrooms with no hot water in a building for pre-schoolers and kindergarteners. 

Principal Alice Henry says the school’s engineer should have taken steps to get the school a new hot water tank.

“We replaced him along with the water tank,” she said.

At Gale Community Academy, inspectors found five dead birds and a one-inch-thick area of bird droppings that can carry viruses and bacteria – all of this in a room that provides fresh air to the rest of the school building.  

City health officials said the bird droppings covered a four- by eight-foot area.

“We’ll be taking a closer look at how it did happen so that it doesn’t happen again with another school,” Bond said.

CPS officials stressed that all the violations were corrected.  

“When you’re looking at a system with over 660 schools, they’re not all going to be perfect, and that is our challenge,” Bond said.

For a database of inspection reports of Chicago public schools, click here. Click on “open” to activate the spreadsheet.

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  • Sandra

    what about the schools in the suburbs?

    • Gina Pocan

      You have to complain.Sandra. Chicago can’t monitor your schools too. Go to the Illinois Department of Education, or even the Federal Board of Education. The people of your town have to approach Your Mayor, and make him do his or her job, and launch an investigation, There is also the Cook County Health Department, try them. But its the Power of the People. The more people you get on board with it the better the results.

      • Gina Pocan

        Mind you, as a former suburban resident myself, I know how corrupt the suburbs can be too, Good Luck!

  • Kimberly Moore

    This is so ridicoulous. schools wanna teach children but not care about there health ,what do they have to say about that.

  • Mike Fangman

    That’s what happens when politicians don’t fund the publc schools.

  • claudio gaete

    This is not an isolated incedent. There has been an systematic push to disinvest in the publc education of all our children. The privatization of public funds through TIFs, Charter Schools and lack of transparency gives us this type of result. What else would we expect when things are sabotaged by the current privatization craze in City Hall and our Nation.

  • Jim

    I think that we should raise taxes…that’s the answer to everything in Illinois! :)

    • Gina Pocan

      Jim Don’t give them any ideas, lol They don’t use the current taxes appropriately now, what makes you think they would use it right now? All our taxes do now is pay for their Cancun trips, and their Mortgage payments. They don’t give a rats butt about any of our kids, Point Blank.

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