Asbestos closes Frankford High for rest of school year

Frankford High School
Frankford High School Photo credit Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Frankford High School will stay closed for the rest of the school year after more damaged asbestos was found in the building, school officials said Friday.

Students had already been learning virtually after damaged asbestos was found in the building last week.

Administrators are now looking for a place to relocate the roughly 1,100 students enrolled at Frankford High.

Two other Philadelphia schools — Building 21 in West Oak Lane and Mitchell Elementary in Kingsessing — are also closed for the rest of the year. An announcement is expected Monday on an alternate site for students at Mitchell.

At those schools, the district said records listed no asbestos present in the plaster in walls and ceilings, but it turns out they did.

Jerry Roseman, an environmental specialist for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union, said the original inspection records were simply carried over during subsequent inspections.

“Over this whole 30-year period, they just kept rolling forward the information that they had originally gotten in 1991. They assumed it was right, and they never looked at it again,” he said.

The district inspector general has launched an investigation into the inaccuracies in its records.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said the fact that the three schools are shuttered for the remainder of the year is "upsetting," but he says it's the right decision to protect students and staff.

The district says it has 295 buildings with asbestos-containing materials. Regular inspections in each building are ongoing on what the district calls an accelerated schedule.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio