St. Pete parent says kids are asked to do janitorial work with unsafe chemicals, school leaders say that’s not true

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg family is concerned for the well being of their kids, saying they’re being forced to do janitorial work with unsafe chemicals.

One father said when he voiced concerns for his kids in elementary school he was told to participate or leave, so he called 8 On Your Side for help.

School staff said nearly 500 students attend Lutheran Church of the Cross Day School in the Shore Acres section of St.Petersburg.

“They have been enlisted to probably do what is the school’s janitorial duties,” Chris Hounchell said about his children who attend the school.

Hounchel said his 7-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter are being asked to wipe down tables with bleach and no protective gear.

He said when he voiced his concern, the school board sent him an e-mail Monday that said either student participate in the cleaning procedures or will have to withdraw from the school.

“There’s a series of emotions, anger, fear, frustration, concern, and where do we go from here?” Hounchell told 8 On Your Side.

Hounchell said he called the Florida Department of Health who called and sent an e-mail to the school Monday telling them about proper and safe cleaning procedures then Hounchell called 8 On Your Side who went to the school for answers.

“We have always prided ourselves on the fact that our students know they are responsible for cleaning up after themselves,” said Holly Carlson, Head of school at LCC.

Carlson admitted that as of a few weeks ago middle school students were asked to use Lysol wipes but said they no longer do as of the last few weeks because of parent concern.

She said elementary students were never asked to clean with anything other than soap and water.

‘The teachers have never sprayed bleach onto a desk or table the students were wiping…there might have been a misunderstanding,” Carlson said.

But Hounchell sent us an e-mail forwarded to him by a parent whose child is in first grade that said “We teachers spray bleach water on the tables and then the students wipe them with paper towels.”

Hounchell said the Department of Children and Family Services and St.Pete Police visited the school Tuesday to investigate.

8 On Your Side reached out to both agencies for more information.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department said they can not comment as all child protective cases are confidential.

St.Pete police said they were called out to the school to investigate, they say the case is still open but no one is being charged at this time. 

Hounchell said if he can be assured his kids will be safe from chemicals, he would like to keep them at LCC Day School with the friends and community they love.

>> Follow Christine McLarty on Facebook

>> Follow Christine McLarty on Twitter

>> Send Christine McLarty a Pinellas County story idea

LATEST ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Coronavirus Need-to-Know Info

More Coronavirus

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss