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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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