Angry parents lay into school officials over rodent, air quality problems at Sherwood Forest Elementary

Education

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It was a very heated night in Norfolk as parents demanded answers from Norfolk Public Schools about the safety of students at Sherwood Forest Elementary. 

The school’s been dealing with a rodent infestation since September, but parents weren’t notified until just a few days ago. 

10 On Your Side was there as tempers flared.

The district’s officials had a hard time even getting information out because parents were shouting at them, wanting to know why they weren’t notified sooner. 

Parents of students at Sherwood Forest Elementary did not hold back Tuesday night.

School officials tried to update parents on the rodent infestation and air quality on campus, but they didn’t get very far. 

“What you’ll find is the results show that the air quality in the building is actually better than outside,” said one district official. 

“That’s not my question though. My question is why weren’t we as a parent notified?” one parent said. 

The official replied “I’m not sure.”

Last week, staff members sent 10 On Your Side photos of the mess the rodents left inside the school. Upset parents grilled the district after it was revealed the problems go back to September 7.

Pictures from the inside capture the “pest problem”

“Beyond a month without us knowing. If somebody went to our homes and found these conditions they would take our kids,” another parent shouted. 

The district called in contractors once they realized the issue was bigger than initially thought. We’re told contractors reported it was a “low to moderate” infestation.

NPS said the problem is being handled accordingly, but parents still weren’t happy with the answers given.

“A lot of the parents I’m talking to and the interviews I’m seeing is that their child is experiencing some of the same issues that my child has experienced, which is severe allergy issues her coming home with her nose and her eyes running,” said parent Krystal Law. “There is something going on. There are multiple kids sick.”

District officials said they missed the mark and the school board chair, Dr. Noelle Gabriel, agrees.

Dr. Noelle Gabriel

“Communication should’ve been given to the parents earlier, and that’s on the school division,” Gabriel said. “We have to do what is in the best interest of the children. We have to reassure families and staff members that their safety is our number one concern.”

Acting Superintendent Dr. Sharon Byrdsong and parents weren’t happy about that either. 

The regularly scheduled school board meeting is on Wednesday and this issue will be discussed in front of the entire board.

Be sure to stay with WAVY News as we continue to follow any developments with this story. 

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