Parents Upset Over Failing Conditions at Pelion Middle School

Parents say the water is brown and there is mold throughout the building.

PELION, SC - Pelion, SC (WLTX) -- A meeting was held Monday night at Pelion Performing Arts Center to discuss the poor facilities at Pelion Middle School. The meeting lasted a little over two and a half hours, and WLTX was told we could not attend the meeting because it was closed to the public.

Many parents say they are fed up with the facilities at the middle school, saying the water is brown, broken tiles in the bathrooms and locker rooms, and mold throughout the building. 

"My son has had sinus surgery. He's immune to certain antibiotics. He keeps migraines and headaches. He stays constantly sick. I bet he's missed 20 days this year. He gets hives every time he comes in contact with the gym," said Cynthia Smith.

Parents say the water has been brown for years and have been told by school officials that there is no mold in the building, but there are de-humidifiers in the classrooms. 

"The mold in the air is making children sick and nothing has been done about it," said Alexa, a concerned parent.

WLTX was told that one person who attended Monday night's meeting was a senior in high school, and she claimed the water was brown when she attended middle school. 

The Superintendent of Lexington One and the Chief Operations Officer say they are looking at $5.5 million worth of projects over the next 18 months, including a new sewer system.

"Any kind of life safety issue or health issue are our number one priority. We don't believe student can learn effectively unless they're in a healthy environment," said Jeff Salters, the Chief Operations Officer.

WLTX cameras were not allowed inside the meeting, despite the fact that the Lexington One Superintendent and the Lexington One Chief Operations Officer were both in attendance. Lexington One spokeswoman Mary Beth Hill said the meeting involved the school improvement council at Pelion Middle School and was not subject to open meeting laws, but attorney Jay Bender disagrees.

"Well the question is, 'Was this a lawful meeting?' If it was a meeting of a school district employee or employees who would make a recommendation to the Superintendent, then it was an illegal meeting unless it had been given 24 hours notice and open to the public, including the media. If none of that happened, the meeting was illegal. I think the key here is the disservice it's done to the parents and students in that school and district at a broader level. Those parents were concerned, they did what was appropriate, and met with school officials to discuss the problems and potential solutions. To close those people out is a disservice to the community," said Bender.

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