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Flint teachers and students dealing with extreme temperatures

(WJRT)
Published: Nov. 15, 2016 at 11:35 PM EST
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"By the end of the day, you just feel like a dish rag. It's unhealthy for them, it's unhealthy for all the staff," explained teacher Michelle Gushen.

She says her classroom in Northwestern HS could be in the 50s one day and in the 80s the next.

"And that's why I sound like this," she said. "And why my throat is hurting. It's very hot, dry air."

On hot days, she's tried to make her students more comfortable.

"I've got three fans going. I turn out the lights and I just turn on like little lamps, so that at least it's not real bright in there," Gushen explained.

But, she said it's not helping. And, learning is getting harder.

She explained, "It takes longer to get through things because when you're tired and sapped of energy and they are too, things just take longer to get done."

It's the same experience at Southwestern. One teacher saw a temperature of 102 degrees.

A group of Juniors actually walked out Monday morning.

"They were just so tired of being hot that they collectively decided to get up and walk out. And so I think it was about two-thirds of the classroom," teacher Debra Olayinka explained.

She says she doesn't blame them. First, they can't drink the water and now this.

"They shouldn't have to endure anything that they're enduring. Because life is hard enough as it is, without the extras. And, they're supposed to be able to come to school and have a good day," Olayinka said.

In a statement, the District says, "The comfort of our students and staff is of the utmost importance. We have been made aware of issues regarding the temperature in a couple of our schools and have addressed them."

But, the teachers tell ABC12 they have yet to see any action.

The teachers union is working on sitting down with the Superintendent soon.

Olayinka says she's meeting with a group of students Wednesday to talk about how to properly effect change without walking out again.

A few of the students who walked out were suspended for three days. Others were picked up by their parents to leave for the day.