Jason Kandel

Decision to Reopen Schools in Saddleridge Fire Zone So Soon Criticized

LAUSD's decision to reopen schools in the Saddleridge Fire zone Monday is being harshly criticized by some who claim the schools weren't properly cleaned.

Parents and teachers say the classrooms were covered in ash and soot when they arrived Monday morning.

Throughout the day parents took their children out of school early because they claim the conditions inside simply weren't safe.

"My teacher got it for us so we don't suck up bad air quality," said student Oliver Nodd, who walked out of Castlebay Elementary School in Porter Ranch carrying a backpack and wearing an air filtration mask.

The neighborhood was hit hard by last week's Saddleridge Fire. Charred hillsides were visible from the school, which was closed on Friday due to the fire, but reopened Monday, much to the disappointment of some parents and teachers.

"It was not clean," said Patricia Lingard, a teacher. "This is not safe, it's not healthy."

Added parent Ameake Owens: "Everything was covered in black soot The entire nurses station was covered in kids with runny eyes, and coughing and headaches and the whole nine and I was really disappointed to say the least that it hadn't been taken care of."

Photos show classrooms dirty with soot and ash. Students and teachers say the classrooms still reek of smoke, but the district ordered all students to stay inside classrooms Monday, due to poor air quality outside.

Local district superintendent, Joseph Nacorda said in a statement that maintenance crews worked over the weekend and air filters were also changed.

Contact Us