‘This may come back to bite us’: Emails show school knew about poor conditions

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Wall Township school officials knew about the deteriorating conditions of trailers used as classrooms months before notifying parents about them, according to emails obtained by News 12 New Jersey.

The trailers behind Central School had rotting wood, bugs, and holes, causing parents to complain to school officials in August to keep their children out of the trailers. The school board then voted to move the children back inside the main school and close the trailers.

Emails and documents obtained by News 12 that dated back to the fall of 2018 showed that school officials knew how poor the conditions in the trailers were.

In an email between the operations and facilities managers discussing the damaged trailers dated Dec. 12, 2018, Michael Monahan writes “We cannot in good faith ignore this. I think to have an outside professional or engineer advise us or this may come back to bite us in the butt if we keep covering this up."

Parents say that they always suspected that they were being lied to about the trailers.

RELATED: Special meeting held in Wall Township on topic of school trailers 
RELATED: ‘Please do the right thing’ -- Wall Township School Board votes to stop construction on trailers 

“I think this is what parents thought all along. But seeing it on paper is entirely different,” says parent Samantha Bassett. “I think it shows without question the administration knew, at least in November and December, the true conditions of these trailers."

But in a letter to parents dated Aug. 20, Superintendent Cheryl Dyer wrote, “As work started on the trailers in July, it was determined that there was damage to the wood framing on the first trailer… Please know that nothing is being done to 'cover up' the damage to the trailers."

Wall Township business administrator Brian Smyth responded to a parent questioning the conditions at a public meeting on Aug. 27. Smyth told the parents, “The intent was the project was to be done by the start of school. We were not covering anything up."

Bassett says that she wishes that she would have known earlier about the trailers.

"I think had the parents known in November and December there's no way the children would have been in them for seven more months in those conditions, absolutely not,” she says.

The Wall Township School Board previously voted to remove the trailers and not have them repurposed for any future activities.

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