Nalley: Some Edgewater Elementary Concerns are 'Hearsay'

More than 50 parents and educators from the local school appeared at Thursday night's budget hearing in Annapolis.

With signs in tow,  parents set out  at Thursday night's public hearing to discuss Superintendent Kevin Maxwell's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013.

, taking up almost half of the available seating. Prior to the meeting, Edgewater Elementary PTA president Jenny Corkill said the group had one thing to say.

"Our children can't wait ‘til 2016 to address the unhealthy environment at our school," Corkill said.

Edgewater Elementary is scheduled to undergo a feasibility study for renovations and upgrades in 2016, but it's a date too far in the future for many parents who say mold build-up and poor air quality is taking a physical toll on their children.

At least three parents addressed the school board Thursday night, citing their child's exposure to Edgewater Elementary and it's "environment" as the sole reason for serious coughing problems or regressions into asthmatic symptoms.

Sue Danielson, a pediatric nurse practitioner and parent at the school, said she was appalled when she visited Edgewater Elementary and learned of its need for renovation.

"As a specialist, I was banging my head against the wall about why my son's symptoms were so bad. I couldn't figure out the problem," Danielson said. "I realized I was sending him to the problem every day [at Edgewater Elementary]."

Danielson told the board she sometimes is forced to give her 7-year-old son "adult amount" doses of medicine to quench his cough. The local mom also said if the board doesn't expedite its feasibility study of Edgewater Elementary, she plans to transfer her son to a new school.

"I want every single room tested and I want the results to be public," Danielson said. "Show me that work is being done and that you care."

At least two other parents from the school told the board their children are suffering from asthmatic symptoms due to the school's "unhealthy conditions."

Despite the outpouring of concern from Edgewater Elementary parents, Anne Arundel County Board of Education President Patricia Nalley said some of the parents at the hearing might have been misinformed about the school's "unhealthy environment."

"Some of the information [parents discussed] was hearsay tonight," Nalley said after the hearing. "I would send my children to [Edgewater Elementary]."

Parents also addressed a recent study that revealed unnaturally high levels of CO2 at the school, possibly causing lethargy and headaches. But Nalley said other factors could have affected the reading.

"Sometimes the CO2 levels can be offset by the number of children in the room," the board president said.

To conclude the hearing, vice president of Meade High School's PTA, Otis Duffy, declared that Edgewater Elementary's "unhealthy environment" should be atop the school board's list of priorities.

"I couldn't sit there and not do anything," Duffy said. "My heart was filled with understanding. We're all parents and we want what's best for our kids."

Jenny corkill January 13, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Perhaps if Ms. Nalley had read the air quality report she would know that high Co2 levels continue in the evening when the children are not there. The is due to poor ventilation not the number of children in class. By the way, since when is individual parents testifying that their children are sick when in school, considered hearsay?
Joyce Toal January 13, 2012 at 09:39 AM
Back in 2006 there was a condition test conducted (I believe by the state) to give the county an idea of which schools needed renovations. Edgewater Elementary had one of the lowest scores in the entire county. Mrs. Halley can say what she wants, but it seems even back then the school was already in deplorable condition 6 years ago. My children don't even go to this school, but after listening to the testimony from Edgewater parents at a school board meeting in December, I had to wonder how the Board of Education could allow a school to become so unhealthy. I mean seriously they can't even drink the water there.
Joyce Toal January 13, 2012 at 09:44 AM
Please excuse the typo, i meant to type Mrs. Nalley.
Alisdair Sewell January 13, 2012 at 01:32 PM
So President Nalley said she would send her children to Edgewater Elementary ? Well of course she'd say that, she's President of the Board of Education, what else could she say ?!!
Sue January 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Lovely way to show good leadership skills...appalling... Maryland would have much better school systems if we elected LOCAL School Board members not APPOINTED COUNTY WIDE Rep's
Kathy Lopez January 13, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I am a parent of a child at Edgewater and a current employee there. This is a great group of teachers and staff. The children are wonderful and they deserve for this matter to be taken seriously. The school is old!!!! What else is there to say, it is time to rebuild this school and give our children a new and healthy environment. I bet if Mrs. Nally's children attended Edgewater Elementary this wouldn't even be an argument. Thank you all who attended as I could not be there.
Maryellen Brady January 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM
There was no heresay or misrepresentation of the environmental hazards that face the children of Edgewater elementary school every day. Within two blocks we have: a 6 yr old who cannot go to school because of the air pollution. There is a 12 yr old who was sick often last year, she missed school so often, the parents were threatened with charges. It turns out, the child now attends Central Middle School and has not been sick a day. There are plenty of examples of children sickened by the deplorable conditions at Edgewater, Ele. The children deserve better. We are a middle class community, out child population is steady, we need to have the improvements to our school much, much sooner than later. Nalley is arrogant and her children don't suffer from asthma, emphazema, allergies.
Christina January 14, 2012 at 06:32 AM
It would be interesting to do a comparison study of absences related to respiratory illnesses of children at Edgewater Elementary compared to children in the newer elementary school buildings. My daughter attended Edgewater Elementary for 5 years, had multiple absences due to respiratory illness and head ache. Miraculously she's not. Had one health related absence or any absence while attending Whiley H. Bates Middle School. I have been amazed she hasn't
Christina January 14, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Sorry for typos. Posting from smart phone.
Sherry January 14, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I am a member of the community and a nurse. My 3 year old daughter will be attending Edgewater Elementary in the near future and frankly, if something is not done about the condition of the school, I will not send her there. I will do whatever is necessary to protect my child. Its absolutely appauling how Mrs. Nalley, the president of the board of ed, and one of the people who are supposed to protect our kids, is not doing her job.
Kelli Coburn January 15, 2012 at 01:09 PM
As the mother of 2 asthmatic children- one currently attending Edgewater Elementary and the other one starting kindergarten in the fall- I am wondering if the Anne Arundel County Board of Education President, Patricia Nalley, intends to dismiss these issues as hearsay and suggest that the studies are flawed somehow; are there other methods to advance this cause? Is it possible to have independent air quality studies (maybe donated by a local business and highlighted on a local news channel) conducted. Also, is it possible to file suit against the school board on any grounds? Is anyone a lawyer or paralegal on this site who could speak to what is required for such a legal challenge? Also, to the parents who have removed their children to attend other AACPS schools; what was the process to have your children reassigned to other AACPS schools?
milton zabora January 29, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Does anyone know where Ms. Nalley's children go to school? I'm pretty sure it is not Edgewater elementary. If they had to deal with these unhealthy conditions i'm sure things would be different. We took our 8 year old daughter to the doctor last year with strep throat and when they gave her penicillin we found out she is allergic. She developed a horrible rash from head to toe. Is this hearsay Ms. Nalley? Maybe our lawyer will find out. In closing I would like to invite Ms. Nalley to attend the meeting at Edgewater elementary on Tuesday January 31st at 7pm. Hope to see you there.
Gary Fritter February 09, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Hello Everyone, If you would like to sign the petition for Edgewater Elementary School (EES), please use the link below. If you think you know someone that might also be interested in standing with us, please share the link with them via email, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Google +. http://www.change.org/petitions/governor-martin-omalleyjohn-leopoldkevin-maxwellpatricia-nalley-a-feasibility-study-in-2013-funding-for-ees-new-school-construction.
Diane Teets February 16, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I too have a son attending Edgewater Elementary who suffers from debilitating migraine headaches. When he gets one it is usually on school days, not in the evening or on weekends. Recently I took him to John Hopkins and his medication was changed to something much stronger with many side affects. I spoke to the doctor about the air quality problems at the school and he agreed that these issues could be a trigger for his problem. I am insulted by Ms. Nalley's "hearsay" remark and the fact that she states the parents are "misinformed;" misinformed by who? As the President of the Board of Education, doesn't she have an obligation to the students, teachers and parents of this county to provide a safe learning environment rather than simply dismiss this most serious problem as hearsay?
Casey Ireland February 28, 2012 at 08:08 PM
This is what they do if their Children go to a certain school! http://www.hometownannapolis.com/news/top/2012/02/09-11/Bates-gets-1M-grant-for-gym-theater.html


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