Students protest mold-motivated moving of 3rd, 4th graders to Marlboro County High School

(Viewer submitted photo)

A petition is going around Marlboro County High School asking school board members to reconsider moving 3rd and 4th graders to the D Hall wing of Marlboro High School following mold concerns at Bennettsville Intermediate School.

The petition says:

The students and other concerned individuals of Marlboro County High School have decided to peacefully protest the transition of the 3rd and 4th graders from Bennettsville Intermediate School to the congested hallways and classrooms of D-Hall to MCHS. Many problems will arise from this transition such as students currently attending attending MCHS will need to change their entire schedule to benefit the new residents, overcrowded classrooms, and this could cause good teachers to consider leaving for better teaching opportunities.

Earlier this week, the board voted 6 to 1, with 2 members abstaining, to move the students.

"It just kind of upsets us that we were not, we did not have any say in this decision," Julie McMillan, a junior, said.

Third and fourth graders are headed to Marlboro County High School and the 5th graders will now go to Clio Elementary Middle School.

"Marlboro County High School has about 1,000 students in it already. We're already over crowded. We do not need...more students in our class," McMillan said.

High school students say the change will also for some of them to change their entire schedule.

Students tell us they wrote the petition in class, then passed it around.

McMillan says some students came into her class asking others students to sign it.

"People were signing the petition at lunch and there were just all kinds of the same petition, different copies of it just floating around school," McMillan said.

Mcmillian says while they don't want the bis students to suffer the high school students also want their voices and concerns to be heard.

"Nobody was really angry, just kind of disappointed because if this goes through this will affect us," McMillan said.

Parsons says the only way anything can be changed is if the other board members change their vote.

"I fully understand why they don’t wanna do this," Parsons said. "The people that voted to do this are the ones that need to listen to the concerns but they don’t appear to want to hear anything else."

Parents had concerns that mold at the school was impacting student and employee health.

School board chair Lucy Parsons says the situation in the high school may not be better.

"The duct works are filthy there as it was at Bennettsville Intermediate School, but Bennettsville Intermediate School has been cleaned. The duct at the high school has not," Parsons said.

Parents fought to move students for months, but board chair Lucy Parsons said at the end of last school year more than half of parents weren't for reconfiguration.

"78 percent of people that were in the school did not want to move," Parsons said.

Related: Some Marlboro County parents want students moved to another school due to mold fears

The board says they spent about $200,000 fixing issues in BIS based on a mold report from GEL engineering.

Parsons said there was no proof mold was making children sick, but some parents didn't agree.

We reached out to the school district and the public information office said they had no comment.

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