Willowridge High School’s principal says he is “humbled and blessed” by the outpouring of community support after mold was found inside the school.
Now, Fort Bend ISD officials say the district is stepping up to replace items teachers lost with just under three weeks left under classes start.
Principal Thomas Graham told parents in a July 19 letter that mold was found when the building was shut down for planned construction over the summer. Crews are working seven days a week, taking out all furniture, carpet, and ceiling tiles, to make sure it’s safe when classes start on Aug. 22.
“I didn’t believe it,” said senior Douglas Nixon, on his reaction to the news.
“We’re not gonna have (any) school supplies,” added senior Jacorey Pattum. “We can’t go inside.”
News about the mold was not only a surprise and letdown for the seniors like Nixon and Pattum, but also senior parents like Sheila Green, who serves as Secretary for the Willowridge PTO.
“I was astounded,” said Green. “My understanding, (the mold is) just kind of all throughout the school.”
Green called the cleanup “hard to watch” and worries that the school’s nearly 40-year history could be affected.
“All their library books are gone, textbooks, books that teachers have collected over the years,” said Green. “It’s sad. They’re gonna have to replace all that.”
Green and other parents found out about the mold from Principal Graham’s July 19 letter, where he wrote that experts believe the mold probably came from prolonged humidity inside the building.
If for any reason the building is not ready for the first day of school, Principal Graham says students and staff will be temporarily relocated to a nearby campus.
“I don’t have any doubt that it’s gonna get taken care of,” said Green.
State Representative Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City), who represents the area, told KHOU that he spoke with the Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre on Wednesday morning and was reassured that “all of the essentials are being taken care of.”
Rep. Reynolds says he’d like to see the community turn this setback into a “call to action” to help the school, which has many economically disadvantaged students and has faced academic challenges in recent years.
“I’m just challenging the community to volunteer, to be supportive of the booster club and the school,” said Rep. Reynolds.
Green says there is a GoFundMe page for anyone wanting to help teachers and staff. She also says donations will be accepted at the Willowridge High School Field House, with drop-offs accepted Monday through Friday between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Anyone willing to donate can also call 832-393-3016 or contact the school at 281-634-2450 for more information.
A FBISD spokesperson told KHOU on Wednesday they are no longer looking for supplies and band equipment and are instead asking for back-to-school “care packages” with things like “personal notes and cards of encouragement”.