Cold Days and Heating Issues Chill Students

December 8, 2006--Posted at 6:05 p.m. CST

FORREST CITY, AR-When a parent sends their child to school they make sure they are dressed for the cold but what happens if the school doesn't have heat?

"I kept him out of school last Friday, because I was told that there was no heat in the school and that concerns me, because he can't learn and be cold," said Teri Immel, mother of a Forrest City High School Student.

Immel's son attends Forrest City High School. Since the fall, the school has worked hard to install a new heating and air system, however the unit still isn't fully functional and classrooms are using space heaters to warm students.

"We have all the heaters installed in the classroom, some are fully functional some aren't," said Forrest City Superintendent Lee Vent.

The typical temperature in a classroom is 72 degrees and while the school hasn't been able to maintain that, they have made sure every room is at least 65 degrees. A temperature they feel is more than suitable for them to go about learning.

"I know in some schools they systematically set up their schools at 65, 67 degrees although ideally it is 72 degrees. Seven degrees off isn't life threatening," said Vent.

"65 degrees is cold, even if it is a constant temperature which I doubt. That is cold," said Immel.

Superintendent Vent added that if parents are concerned about the temperature they are welcomed to visit classrooms because the situation isn't that bad.

"This is my 11th year in the district and the building was warmer at 5:45 a.m. than the previous ten years I have been here," said Vent.

However, parents like Immel feel students have enough distractions and a colder room just makes the learning experience harder.

"They need to cancel school until they can get it absolutely working," said Immel.

In response the school said any additional days off would mean the spring semester would run well into June.

The Forrest City School District says it should have the system fully operational, without the use of space heaters, by the first of the year.