Detroit teacher takes new job to get out of classroom she says is making her sick

DETROIT (WXYZ) - One teacher says she found herself forced to make a heartbreaking decision for her health. Did she want to continue working in Detroit Public Schools for the sake of the kids? Or take a new job to escape a classroom she believes is making her sick?

“I am heartbroken,” said Nancy Muerhoff, a kindergarten teacher at Carleton Elementary in Detroit. “You get so attached to them.”

Muerhoff sent a letter home to parents letting them know she had accepted a new job, and this was her last week as their children’s teacher.

“I had one parent come in in tears,” said Muerhoff, in tears herself.

She says she would have stayed if she had more support, better health benefits, and a healthier room.  She calls her classroom, room 108,  the room from hell.

“That leak has been there three years.  I cleaned it up this morning.  It drips constantly down on the table,” said Muerhoff pointing to a constant flow of dripping water from her ceiling.

“I don’t know what it is.  I know there is a bathroom above me.” 

She says it smells in her room and she constantly has headaches.

Her room is also connected to an old dilapidated green house.  The door to the green house doesn’t have a doorknob, insulation, or a lock.  She put bags in the doorknob hole after squirrels kept getting in to her classroom.

"I have told the building manager,” said Muerhoff.  “He says, 'Oh we have to get a contractor.' The contractor never comes out.”

The windows in the greenhouse are covered in a black substance.  She doesn’t know if it is mold or mildew.  She knows it smells and isn’t clean.

7 Action News called the health department.  It immediately sent out an inspector to look at what is happening.  We’re told the inspection is going to take more than a day.  We will follow up on what is found.

A district spokesperson confronted 7 Action News as we left the school property.  We were told Muerhoff was not authorized to show us the conditions in her room.  No comment was provided as to when the conditions would be addressed.

Muerhoff says she knows her previous and current principal asked for issues to be fixed, but it never happened. She says she asked 7 Action News to share her story in the hope it leads to change for the sake of her students. 

"They’re tough kids, but it is just not right. They’re the ones that lose in the whole thing. They’re not getting what they deserve.”

If there is something happening at your children’s school that 7 Action News should report on or expose, contact us at fixmyschool@wxyz.com .

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