St. James Elementary School parents confront HCS board over mold issues

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Parents of St. James Elementary School students concerned mold in the building is making their kids sick are demanding action from Horry County’s school district.

Several St. James Elementary parents wanted answers from the board for Horry County Schools at a meeting Monday night.

“Why do mold counts continue to increase in classrooms E100 and the reading room,” asked Meredith Smith, a mother of a student at St. James Elementary.

Many of those parents say mold in the school caused their children develop to chronic sicknesses.

“The (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) test is really what we need to get to the bottom of this and figure out what we have growing in this school, based on species and genus,” said Kristy Roderick, another mother of a student at St. James Elementary.

“The presence of mold is not a new phenomenon in this district,” said Ann Steinmuller, a former HCS teacher. “A personal experience of mine mirrors the current situation at St. James Elementary School.”

Dr. Rick Maxey, superintendent for HCS, sent a letter to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control about recent mold tests at St. James Elementary. DHEC says the issues fall under EPA standards, saying, “Following the guidelines that EPA has provided is the best recommendation that we can provide.”

Dr. Maxey says HCS follows those EPA guidelines.

“We will certainly do what is necessary to take corrective measures,” he said.

The parents also presented a petition with about 1,250 signatures. It asks the district to take action like hiring a third-party engineering firm to study the building, which was built in 1956.

The parents say they want impartial engineers to find any sources of mold.

“It could’ve been the water leaking from the roof, could have been an HVAC system,” said Will Taylor, a father of a student at St. James Elementary. “We’ve got to figure out where the leak is coming from, what the issues are and fix those, so it doesn’t continue to come back.”

While the HCS facilities committee and board of education did discuss the air quality tests, no action was taken about St. James Elementary at Monday night’s meeting.

Dr. Maxey says two classrooms identified in the last testing were tested again Monday.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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