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Employee concerned for children's safety at Sapulpa school

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 14:48:23-04

SAPULPA, Okla. -- Employees of an Early Head Start center in Sapulpa are speaking out against conditions they say aren't safe for them or the children.

"It’s putting the children’s safety at risk at this point," said the employee.

A staff member at Sapulpa Early Head Start, fearing for her job, chose to remain anonymous while speaking to Two Works For You, but says she can't stay quiet anymore.

"I am fighting to protect them, I am fighting for their health," she said.

The conditions they're exposed to on a daily basis, she says, are horrific.

"Mold coming out of the walls, or when it rains, water coming from the ceiling," said said.

Staff members try to ask for help, but say they only receive temporary fixes at the school.

"We could talk to them until we’re blue in the face, telling them how we feel but we just feel like at the end of the day they didn’t even hear us," she said.

According to a DHS report on Sapulpa Early Head Start, the kitchen had to be shut down back in August of 2018 for multiple reasons, including cabinets damaged beyond repair, and crumbling and exposing sub floor. Since then they’ve had their food prepared at the Head Start building in downtown Sapulpa, and transported to Early Head Start.

"Every time it’s just, well we’re getting there, we’ll get that, we’re trying, but when we ask for them to come down and see what’s going on there’s always a reason why they can’t," she said.

The classes were originally held in two trailers, but they're now down to one after a dishwasher sanitizer started sparking and smoking in the building.

"Today will be three days we’ve been closed," she said.

Kim Rice, Director of Head Start and Early Head Start in Oklahoma, says they're aware of these conditions. She says they've been looking for a new building for Sapulpa Early Head Start to move into since September and haven't had luck, but assure the kids are safe.

"It takes a village to raise these kids and we can only do much without help," she said.

Staff members keep holding onto hope that their voices will be heard for the sake of the children.

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