Parents worried Dallas school is unsafe after ceiling collapses

A group of Dallas ISD parents say their kids' school is unsafe and want it to be shut down.

The complaints at Thomas Edison Middle School in West Dallas started after a partial ceiling collapse last week. The district says they've checked out the problem and parents have nothing to worry about.

Dallas ISD says no students or staff were in the building when the collapse happened early Thursday morning. Maintenance crews immediately started repairing it. But the school district is blaming the collapse on the contractor who originally installed ductwork in the building eight years ago and wants to hold them accountable.

Parents at Thomas Edison were alarmed to see a photo floating around social media showing a collapsed ceiling in their children's school.

“I feel like the school should be condemned, if you ask me,” said parent Candyce Cole.

“It was bad,” said parent Yianna Wilson. “Like the whole… whatever's inside the ceiling and everything was on the ground.”

Dallas ISD says the collapse happened sometime overnight late last week when no one was in the building. It was later discovered when cleaning crews came in Thursday morning.

“The ductwork was installed and was not secured properly,” said DISD Information Director Robyn Harris. “It was actually installed and secured on the ceiling as opposed to the structure, which naturally posed a little bit of compromising.”

DISD says the work was done in 2010, and they're trying to find the contractor to hold them accountable. But at this time, DISD believes the incident appears to be isolated.

“We're going back and looking at some things,” Harris said. “Preventatively, we wanted to make sure the entire school had been looked at. It appears so far it was just one area within that building that had that same line of ductwork.”

A letter to parents didn't go home until Tuesday explaining what happened after the district investigated the problem. 

“That's a hazard and an emergency to me,” Cole said. “And we had to find out through the kids coming home telling us.”

Parents are still uneasy.

“I'm kind of scared for my daughter to keep coming to school because what if it comes down to wherever she's at?” Wilson said.

“You're supposed to send your kids to school. They're supposed to be in a safe environment,” Cole said. “But that's not happening here at Edison.”

Repair work on the school is estimated to be done by spring break. In the meantime, students have been shifted to other classrooms.

The DISD school board voted to close Edison, along with other schools earlier this year, before the collapse happened. Edison students will be moved to Pinkston High School during the next school year.

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