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School Board Meeting Becomes heating When Discussing Water Crisis
By Kera Mashek
February 19, 2014


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- A Kanawha County school board meeting got heated between board members and dozens of parents on Wednesday, when the subject turned to the West Virginia water crisis.

It’s well over a month into the water crisis and some schools in Kanawha County are still battling water troubles. Now frustrated parents are making demands and are worried about the safety of their children.

Dozens of parents attended the meeting, hoping to get some answers about how the school has handled the water crisis.

Rhonda Brogan was at a community meeting two weeks ago in Chesapeake, but since the school board didn't show up then, she brought her questions and concerns to them.

“I'm here trying to get some clarity on the way they're testing the waters, because it keeps coming back ‘no detect,’ and I really don't believe that," she said.

Brogan is the secretary at Midland Trail Elementary, one of the first schools that experienced trouble after the leak.

Like at many other schools, the licorice odor filled the hallways, making some teachers and students sick.

Incidents like it led to an upsetting comment for teachers from one of the board members. Board President Pete Thaw said when announcing the county’s closing policy, that those who wanted to shut schools after the licorice smell was reported were people “who want the day off.”

"I'd like to see an apology by Pete Thaw on how we were making things up to just get a day off," Brogan said.

And Brogan wasn't the only one wanting an apology.

"I'd like to hear you directly apologize to the parents and teachers of this county for those comments."

"The teachers of this county know how I feel,” Thaw said. “I am known to make ill-advised comments."

With work still to do and questions still to be answered, Kanawha Superintendent Ron Duerring hopes differences can be put aside.

"We pull together,” he said. “We stand together. We get through these crisis. We help each other out. The same thing's happened here, as West Virginians we pull together."

Board members said they feel that everything was done properly in the schools throughout the county, and, if more incidents arise, they will continue to address them.

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