Teacher Sues over Moldy Classroom

Teacher Sues over Moldy Classroom

An elementary school teacher is suing the Kanawha County school board claiming that she has been sickened because they failed to correct toxic mold growing in the portable classroom in which she taught.

Mary Nichols teaches second grade at Cross Lanes school. According to her lawsuit, she was exposed to poor indoor air and mold recurrently, and that despite her reports to school officials, no one took corrective measures to make the work environment safe.

According to Nichols’ complaint, as a result of her excessive exposure to the mold, she has been seriously sickened, and has suffered pain, financial loss, and emotional distress.

The School Destroys the Rooms

Because of complaints from Nichols, a student teacher, and others, in March, the board removed four portable classrooms. The teachers and students in those buildings were relocated to other classrooms.

According to Nichols, the board then destroyed, moved or disposed of the classroom she was teaching in, preventing her from proving there was mold present. The board did this knowing Nichols intended to file a lawsuit, she contends.

The Investigations

In January, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department inspectors and inspectors from the Department of Health and Human Resources examined the portable classroom, looking for mold after teachers said they had breathing problems.

The inspectors found a need for some cleaning and repairs, but even after that was taken care of, Nichols continued to have problems. She claimed there was still mold growing in and under the building which was causing her to get sick.

She showed the board a piece of insulation covered in mold that was taken from beneath the portable classrooms, which were brought to the school nearly 30 years ago.

Nichols, who worked for the school for almost eight years, detailed her health problems to the school board, explaining to them that she believed they were the result of her teaching in that room. She had suffered asthma and allergies that required extensive treatment and medication.

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