Parents protest Mount Vernon school conditions

Safety concerns led a number of angry Mount Vernon parents to pull their children out of school and protest outside Columbus Elementary on the first day of classes Monday.

The protestors said they did not feel secure sending their children to a school where some bathrooms and water fountains were out of order. Others voiced concerns about asthma fears related to dust problems, exposed wires and a non-functioning kitchen.

On Sunday, Superintendent Dr. Welton Sawyer led about 200 parents on a tour of the facilities to assuage fears over the safety conditions. Many of those parents, including the school's PTA president, voted to keep their children out of class until further construction progress is made.

School officials said the school still needs another month of construction, but they say the building is safe enough to begin the school year.

"I wouldn't have opened this building if I didn't feel it was the best thing for my children," said Sawyer.

All missing students will be marked absent, according to administrators. The school's start was two days later than anticipated.

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