Student Made To Clean During Summer School - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/23/03 - Brookeland

Student Made To Clean During Summer School

Story By Wade Cameron

When Felicia Hebert was told her daughter Leslie had to go to summer school because of too many absences she tried to be encouraging.

"At first I told her to just go and do a good job so if nothing else all they could say was 'Hey, she did a good job'," said Hebert. "But then when I heard what they were doing... I just couldn't believe it."

What they were doing was cleaning the school and it wasn't pushing a broom or wiping a desk.

"We had to pick through trash that had maggots in it, picked grass out of the side walk," said student Audra Lowe.

"I did everything they said because I wanted to go to the next grade," said student Leslie Martin.

The girls are just two of the 11 Brookeland ISD students that say school officials made them work off unexcused absences. During the week long period, students painted classrooms, cleaned floors and some say they even had to clean and detail a teacher's personal vehicle. That's why Brenda Lowe and several other parents are filing a complaint with the Texas Education Association.

"The other schools I've called say in their summer programs they do reading, writing, arithmetic and sometimes even work out of the dictionary but nothing like working out in the heat using chemicals," said Lowe.

Brenda's daughter Audra had to see a doctor during the week because of chemicals used while cleaning a bathroom.

"I was vomiting and my chest hurt, my head hurt," said Audra Lowe "My eyes and my friend Leslie's eyes were hurting so bad she thought they were going to bleed."

The girls say they were never given gloves or masks to clean the bathrooms despite having to clean urine and feces off of the walls. Despite her doctor recommending she not return to the school, Audra did because she didn't want to be held back. Her mother says she will never go to Brookeland again.

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