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Oakman parents can’t get answers

Uncovered asbestos is found in hallways and classrooms at Noble School, an EPA violation. STAFF PHOTOS

Uncovered asbestos is found in hallways and classrooms at Noble School, an EPA violation. STAFF PHOTOS

Find Noble rife with repair needs

By T. Kelly
The Michigan Citizen

Oakman parents answered an invitation to attend information meetings June19 at Noble and Erma Henderson Schools, where their children are slated to attend next year. They expected answers to questions about why Emergency Manager Roy Roberts is closing their building.

They found no answers at either school, said Aliya Moore, president of the Oakman Tigers Parent group.

At Noble they found exposed asbestos, leaking ceilings, toilet stalls without doors and bathroom sinks inaccessible to wheelchairs.

Knowing that Noble had the exposed asbestos, the Oakman parents and children entered the school wearing dust masks. While they wore the masks throughout the meeting, no official at Noble questioned why.

Noble Principal Angela Broaden and staff gave grade by grade presentations noting the highlights of the years and their views of their strong points.

After the presentations, Moore thanked Broaden and staff for their presentations,  but said the Oakman parents came hoping that someone from Roberts’ office would be present to answer questions. Moore said since April parents have asked what repairs are needed at Oakman that would amount to the $900,000 he claims the building needs. Moore said the parents want to know what repairs and renovations are being done to Noble and for comparative purposes, the costs of the Noble repairs.

Bathroom stalls without doors.

Bathroom stalls without doors.

An unofficial tour of the school revealed heating pipes once wrapped in asbestos, partially uncovered, meaning there may be air quality problems. Leaks were being caught with buckets positioned in the hallway underneath open holes.

An air quality test should be done, one Oakman parent said. Who knows, he asked, how much asbestos is floating around. Some of the tattered asbestos had purple crayon scribbling indicating a child had been not only close but playing with the asbestos covering.

Noble has many empty classrooms with 517 students in a building that predates Oakman by six years.

Oakman has 315 students with one empty classroom and students whose special needs are being met, Moore said. “Why are they closing our school?”

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