Atoka Family Upset About Old School Building - - No One Gets You Closer

Atoka Family Upset About Old School Building


ATOKA, OK -- A grandparent says she is worried that an old school building might be making a kindergartner sick, months before it is due to be demolished.

She says she is worried because she says the boy has asthma that seems to get worse whenever he goes to school. The school building is due to be replaced for next year, but she says she is not sure what to do until then.

"I can keep him home for two or three days and he's fine, just as soon as he goes back to school for a couple of days, then he's sick again," says Irene Smith.

Smith says her great-grandson Kensington Cravey, 5, started kindergarten at Atoka Elementary School in August, but he does not seem to be able to get through a full week at school without feeling sick. "It feels like it hurts and I just want to pound it," says Cravey, rubbing his head.

"His eyes gets all swollen red and he gets sick, he runs fever," says Smith.

Smith says she believes that there is mold in the school that is exacerbating Cravey's asthma. 

"When it rains, the water goes down the walls into the floor. The kids walk in water. It's just not a safe place for anyone's kids to be," says Smith.

Assistant principal Geraldine Southern says they have not found any mold in the school, but that the building, which dates to 1935, does have its issues.

"There's been some termites, water damage, we have some leaks," says Southern.

Soon, Atoka's youngest students will have a new school to go to, right next to the high school. A new elementary school now under construction is set to open next fall.

"We got to go over to the school and we got to write little messages on the concrete,so it will always be in the school," says Southern.

Southern says teachers and students are excited as they watch the progress on the new school, but Smith says she is still not sure what to do about this year.

"I want him to go to school. I want him to get a good education, but I don't want to have to send him in a place that's not safe," says Smith.

Construction is moving along on the new school and teachers are set to move in over the summer, Southern said. Much of the old school, which was once Atoka High School, will be demolished.