By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker
When Mayor Mike Duggan toured Detroit public schools on Tuesday, he described the conditions, which included a dead mouse, as “heartbreaking.”
Now Duggan is ordering the city to inspect all 97 DPS school buildings, which are technically the responsibility of the state.
But under state intervention, schools have rapidly deteriorated, and school officials have been slow to correct health violations that include mold, structural issues, fire and electrical hazards and a lack of heat.
Duggan said the Building, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) and Detroit Health Department will immediately begin the inspections.
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“This effort isn’t about blaming anybody,” Duggan said. “It’s about making sure that every child and every teacher in Detroit goes to school in a safe and healthy environment. We’ve been assured by Emergency Manager (Darnell) Earley that DPS will respond promptly to correct any deficiencies found in these inspections and we look forward to working with the district to resolve these problems.”
By the end of the month, Duggan expects inspections to be complete in the 20 most problematic school buildings.
The inspection of all 97 schools is scheduled to be complete by the end of April.
The city also plans to inspect charter schools, Duggan said today.
Duggan is asking teachers, parents and students to report health and safety problems on the city’s website.
Duggan pledged to “take appropriate action” to correct the violations and other problems.
The Health Department will be tasked with assuring “both compliance and a healthy environment for students and teachers,” Duggan said.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.