Mom: Why does school office have air conditioning but my son's classroom does not?

Posted at 6:49 PM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 18:49:57-04

Nicole Toledo's four-year-old son Cameron is a Pre-K student at Roosevelt Early Childhood Center, P.S. 65 in the Buffalo Public Schools. When she picked him up from school last week, she said he and other students "had sweat dripping down their faces".

"I said, 'oh my gosh baby, you're so hot.' And he goes 'it's so sweating in here Mama'," Toldeo said.

Toldeo raised concerns with school administrators and is particularly upset the main office is air-conditioned but none of the classrooms are.

"Why should they get the privilege of sitting back comfortably, living it up in air conditioning, while the kids are suffering and dripping in sweat all day? It's just not fair," she said. "If the kids are suffering the adults should be suffering right along with them."

The school placed fans near doorways and had water stations in the hallways on Monday to help with the heat. Teachers were told to keep windows open and leave shades at least halfway down to block the sun. The school has also ordered additional fans which are expected to arrive Tuesday.

As for air conditioning, the district says it too expensive to put throughout the building for the few days a year it is needed. The office is typically air-conditioned because it is smaller and easier to do so and, in some cases, staff work in the office throughout the summer months.

7 Eyewitness News also got to go inside St. Gregory the Great School in Williamsville to see how teachers and students there dealt with record high temperatures Monday.

"[Teachers] are being very careful with our students because safety is first with them," explained school counselor Desiree Weppner. "We don't want anybody overheating or getting sick."

The school allowed students to wear gym clothes instead of their usual uniform Monday. They can do the same on Tuesday. Staff are also instructing students to bring in water bottles to stay hydrated. Teachers have been able to move classes to areas that are equipped with air conditioning, like the library and gathering rooms in the ministry.

"We're trying to do everything we can to keep them cool and make it comfortable," Weppner said. "So they're able to continue doing their studies in school."