A sign on the door of a Webster Parish elementary school alerts guests of the late start date.
Students are set to start school on the 18th
Workers are putting the finishing touches on floors
WEBSTER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -
School is back in session at a Webster Parish school where lead remediation took place last week, pushing back the school year start date by a week.
The school district had to push back J. E. Harper Elementary School's start date until Monday to meet EPA guidelines after lead was found in the walls.
Workers repaired the floors after lead was found while old chalk boards were being repaired.
"We discovered that the weight was made of lead, and as you know it's one of the materials that if you expose it in anyway it has to be removed,” said Webster Parish Schools Superintendent Dan Rawls.
That was only the beginning. After removing the weight, testing found that traces of the lead remained in the carpet.
“We went in, we cleaned the building and we emptied all of the carpet out,” said Rawls.
Students started school a week late but they won't have to spend an extra week in school to make up the difference. They school days won't be lengthened either. Instead, about 12 minutes are being added to actual class instruction each day for the remainder of the school year, said Principal Janene Ashley.
Adding new tile takes time, and with school slated to start on the 11th, school board members opted to ensure student safety over rushing the process. Harper Elementary has about 525 students enrolled.
“We are not going to do anything that is going to jeopardize the safety/health of a child," Rawls said. "We just won't do it. We will go the extra mile."
Tae Washington has a 5-year-old daughter who will began school at the elementary school this year . She said her daughter was crushed when she found out she would be starting a week later than everyone else.
"I told her everybody else started Monday, she was like I want to start with everyone else," Washington said. "I told her, 'You're going to have to wait until the Kindergarten starts.'"
Her daughter Latisha didn't get to start with everyone else.
"You have to get contractors, and sometimes they're not on your schedule," Rawls said. "We were on a rushed schedule but they weren't."