Elizabeth Public Schools: Too Hot to Handle


ELIZABETH, NJ—The parents of Elizabeth Public School students are saying that their children are coming home sick.

According to parents, teachers and students, many school buildings have little or no air conditioning, with many reporting room temperatures in excess of 86 degrees.

Several parents have also said that some students with conditions like asthma are having difficulty in the heat and, with a number of them becoming ill.

Sign Up for E-News

In addition, several sources state that fans are not being permitted in classrooms.

Kason Little, a student at Christian J. Bollwage Finance Academy in Elizabeth, said the situation has become unbearable for both teachers and students.

“Exactly 23 schools in Elizabeth are currently without air conditioning,” Little said. “This is not the type of environment for students to be taught a quality education at all.”

Little also questions how educators can be effective in those conditions.

Teachers have been expressing concerns about the lack of air conditioning in classrooms as well.

“I have been a teacher in Elizabeth for 18 years and I have worked in our buildings without ac my entire career,” said one teacher who requested anonymity. “It is bad, beyond hot. Kids cannot learn. They are so hot. You walk in the morning and the hot air hits you.”

The teacher also claims that computers and starboards don't work due to the excessive heat.

“I have three industrial fans that I bought with my own money,” she said. “Nothing is given to us in Elizabeth. Teachers pay for it or we don't get it.”

Parents and advocates say that this issue has persisted for years and that their complaints have been ignored by the school board.

Sima Farid, who is running for school board this year said that the board has neglected the city’s students.

“I have been a PTO president in our district for almost a decade and am sad to say of recent years I see a gross lack of empathy, knowledge and understanding needed to provide for our children's safety by this board,” she said. “With so many current ethics charges and irresponsible actions that our current board’s majority have against them and who are comprised mostly of city and county employees with no children in our district. it's no wonder the students are suffering in this heat and they don't even take notice.”

A statement issued by the Elizabeth School District states that it has taken steps to address the issue.

“The health and well-being of our students and staff is the district’s top priority,” Hugelmeyer said. “The recent heat wave has posed challenges but has been aggressively met to protect health, in accordance with state, city, fire safety and insurances rules and regulation. While we understand there was some discomfort, every appropriate step was taken.”

Hugelmeyer states that classroom temperatures are being monitored continuously and that shades are lowered at the beginning of each day to keep the sun from heating classrooms.

According to the district, students have been moved to air-conditioned all-purpose rooms, cafeterias and similar designated cooler rooms and that students were moved from higher floors to lower floors. Emergency water is allegedly also in place at each school, with frequent breaks given to enable hydration, while physical education and similar activities have been limited.

Board candidate Christina Cunha-Moreira, founder of Elizabeth Parents and Students Care and an organizer for Save Our Schools NJ said that she, along with other parents, have been advocating for updating electrical to our older schools for at least three years.

“Nothing has been done,” Cunha-Moreira said. “Our concerns fall on deaf ears. There are two inequities in our schools, where some kids are in brand new schools with air conditioning and other kids are dehydrated, nose bleeds, asthma attacks, fatigued. This includes teachers and staff. Yet we have money to pay a political public relations guy and add benches to the front of several schools. We don’t need benches or PR. We need a healthy learning environment.”

Luis Couto, the district’s Director of Plant, Property and Equipment, said the district must comply with the state’s Uniform Fire Code by order of the Department of Education, which prohibits personal fans and similar devices.

Additionally, state law and regulations provide for the relocation of classrooms due to heat only after two hours of sustained temperatures above 89 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cuoto claims that those conditions have not occurred at all since the beginning of the school year.

“The district has taken every appropriate step by law and regulation,” Cuoto said.

According to the EBOE President of Stanley Neron, 30 of the district’s schools and annexes are fully air conditioned, while the remainder have air-conditioned gyms, cafeterias, auditoriums or multi-purpose rooms which are air conditioned and serve as cooling areas when temperatures exceed safe levels.

“The board has been implementing a program to improve air conditioning at schools and anticipates an upcoming capital budget to include additional repair, replacement and installation of air condition,” Neron said. “The board recognizes the comfort of our students is critical to their learning and is taking all possible steps to improve conditions at our older schools.”

Parents say they will be closely monitoring this situation.



Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


You Meet the Most Amazing People on the Trail

The weather cooperated this weekend, so I went for more than one hike. After all, there are only just over fifty days before my walk to Maine commences, so why not.

This Saturday, some friends dragged me away from housecleaning (thank you!) for a quick jaunt through Watchung Reservation.  While we were there, we ran into two individuals from Westfield; the cosplayers introduced themselves ...

Go Take a Walk

Friday, March 30 was Take a Walk in the Park Day, so I did.  I really didn't have an excuse to not do so; the sun was shining, I had the day off, and I had no plans for the rest of the day.  So after a session with Abbe, my trainer at LifeTime Fitness, I made the short trip to Lake Surprise in Watchung Reservation. 

As I made my way around the lake, it was easy to see how ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, May 28, 10:00 AM

Plainfield City Hall, Plainfield

Memorial Day Service

Tue, May 29, 4:00 PM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Bleep Lab

Arts & Entertainment


Wed, May 30, 6:30 PM

Emerson Community School, Plainfield

League of Women Voters Candidate Forum


Holy Savior Cheerleading Squad Takes Season by 'Storm'

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy’s (HSA) ‘Biddy’ Cheerleading Squad, the Storm,  recently completed their 2017-2018 season with a first place win in their division at Cheerfest. Held May 12 at Six Flags Great Adventure, the annual multi-state competition featured teams from throughout New Jersey. 

“This cheer season has been such an ...

Chopped Champions Crowned at Wardlaw+Hartridge

May 27, 2018

EDISON, NJ -- The final round of Chopped, the W+H Edition, was staged in front of the entire Wardlaw+Hartridge Upper School on May 22.

The three winning teams from the preliminary rounds battled in a close competition and impressed the judges with their creativity and culinary expertise.

Congratulations to the team led by faculty mentors Susan Swenson and Susan Zusman, pictured with ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

May 24, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

La Promesa de Graduación

May 25, 2018

Querido Plainfield, 


Nosotros que creemos en el poder transformativo de la educación sabemos que estamos en un momento del año muy especial. Es el momento que millones de sueños en el mundo se realizan y visiones del futuro se hacen tangibles; es un tiempo de celebración y gratificación, es la felicidad que sentimos cuando llegamos a un ...

School’s Out: Your Exclusive Summer Getaway Guide

May 22, 2018

Summer... a time to do whatever you please without having the stress of school or work.

But like many others, you may find yourself unsure of how to spend your summer days. So, if you’re looking for something cool to do when it’s hot, consider these ideas:

Get Cultured: Metropolitan Museum of Art: If you’re fascinated with art of all sorts from classic to modern, then this ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

'Turning Off the Morning News' brings comic twist

‘Turning Off the Morning News’ tackles today’s issues with a comic twist

By Liz Keill

PRINCETON, N J – Despite the late night comics, no one quite captures the insanity of the political/social status world like Christopher Durang.

His latest play, “Turning off the Morning News” hit the ground running.  John Pankow as Jimmy addresses the audience, ...

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Sustains Timeless Appeal

SUMMIT, NJ – The Summit Playhouse provides a stellar production of a much loved classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

The Harper Lee novel, later a Gregory Peck film and now a stage production, retains all the warmth, intensity and integrity that made it such an appealing hit in the 1960s. And there will be a new production on Broadway in December with a script by Aaron Sorkin ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

The Man in Room 306 at the Luna Stage, West Orange, NJ

            The Luna Stage, a Jersey theater gem, chose to revive its 1995 world premiere drama, The Man in Room 306, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the slaying of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Starring Jamil A.C. Mangan as Dr. King, this 90 minute production portrays Dr. King in the last hours of his life as he struggles to write a speech for the Poor ...

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, 2017)


I wanted to like Into the Water by Paula Hawkins because I had enjoyed her previous novel, The Girl on the Train, which was a suspenseful thriller. However, when I finished reading the first part of the Into the Water, I realized that I had not absorbed anything that was happening in the story. I blamed myself for not paying ...

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (Citadel Press, 1970)


How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

The Truth About My Reading

I didn't get my Composition and Literature teacher at Montclair State College at all. A crusty old man with a dour disposition, Mr. Smith always seemed angry and rude. He appropriately intimidated freshmen, even me, an English major, who found this common core course beneath my dignity. Frankly, as a graduate of Highland Park High School, and a survivor of Mrs.