Olive Branch Elementary School parents say building conditions may be making their children sick

Olive Branch Elementary School Parents Say Building Conditions May Be Making Kids Sick

OLIVE BRANCH, MS - (WMC-TV) – Parents at a Mid-South school want to know: is the school building making their kids sick?

Members of Olive Branch Elementary School's parent teacher organization took several pictures of what they consider environmental hazards.

And while parents aren't sure if that's what's caused some to get sick, they are calling for an outside investigation to get answers.

Abby Fox, 7, has not seen her classmates at Olive Branch Elementary School since early November.

"Sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, thrush, in spite fever with vomiting from August till the middle of October," Heather Fox, Abby's mother and Olive Branch Elementary School PTO secretary said.

Fox isn't sure what's caused her first grader to come down with so many illnesses in her 18 months at the school, but she wonders if the conditions - shown in pictures she took - are to blame.

"The ceiling tiles have water stains on them," she said. "The vents are so dusty, completely filled with debris they don't look like they've ever been serviced at all."

Fox isn't just another parent; she's the secretary of the school's parent teacher organization. She says other teachers and parents have shared concerns that conditions aren't safe. Fox said her daughter has napped on soiled carpet and that there are rodents like squirrels in the roof.

"We have a petition going to the Desoto county schools that we're going to present," said Megan Sanders, PTO treasurer.

More than 100 parents have signed petitions for the school board to investigate. On Monday Fox and the PTO addressed district leadership after she says last week's phone calls and emails went unreturned.

"Mr. Treadway has that email," Sanders said. "We forwarded that onto Mr. Treadway."

While the email may have been lost in the shuffle, Superintendent Milton Kuykendall promised answers.

"We are going to investigate what you told us tonight," he said. "We are going to get professionals to come in and check it out. If what they say is true we're going to take care of it."

Fox says she and her child love the school and don't want to move.

The school district promised to look into the claims as top priority. We'll continue to follow up on this story for answers. 

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