BALLSTON SPA – The head of the village’s public schools has responded to a widely read blog post from a Facebook group that accused a middle school teacher of holding a class with an open window in “freezing” conditions.
In a letter to college parents on Monday, Ballston Spa Central School District superintendent Kenneth Slentz said the Feb. 3 post on the “Moving Saratoga Forward” Facebook page was mired in lies.
Moving Saratoga Forward, which bills itself as the county’s most trusted news source, ‘reported that the parent of a sixth grader was so disturbed by the alleged practice of classroom windows being left open during the harsh winter that she took her child out of the district altogether.’
The blog said the unnamed teacher kept the classroom windows open ‘despite temperatures steadily falling into or below the digits over the past two weeks’.
The parent quoted in the story was alarmed that the window was opened on a day when temperatures fell to -3 degrees.
According to Slentz’s letter to parents, the blog’s reporting on the classroom temperature was his most notable inaccuracy.
“Our heating system tracks the temperature in our classrooms and the week in question there was a time on Thursday January 27 when the temperature in the classroom reached 67 degrees for less than an hour at noon” , wrote Slentz. “For the rest of the week, the average temperature in the room was around 70 degrees.”
Slentz conceded that it was possible that the student closest to the window “didn’t experience the average temperature and so the window closest to them was later closed.”
Slentz also pointed to a photo associated with the blog which he said was out of context.
According to the details of the photo, it was taken on a day when the temperature outside was around 40 degrees, the letter from the head of the school continues.
“Those of us who have attended school in the past on such winter days remember well how hot the buildings could get due to the fact that our heating systems are very large and cannot react to temperature variations such as we have sometimes experienced this winter.”
Slentz went on to say that the district has a pending application for federal funding to upgrade its heating and cooling systems, with design work being prepared by architects and engineers, subject to Department of Health approval. state education.
Around the world, and in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, some teachers have been keeping classroom windows open to prevent the spread of the virus, the BBC and other media have reported.
Moving Saratoga Forward’s post about it garnered nearly 400 comments.
But it wasn’t the first time the forum had reported on a local controversy at a school.
In recent weeks, the Facebook group, which has pushed to unmask students, criticized a teacher at Caroline Street Elementary School in Saratoga Springs who allegedly gave a student a face mask after a judge temporarily lifted the governor’s mask mandate.
The post says the teacher threatened to drag “any student who walks into the office without a mask, making them cry.”
Following this message and phone calls to the school, police visited the school to investigate, but found that the “allegations as presented on social media” were not unfounded.
Contact journalist Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.
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Categories: News, Saratoga County