Issues, safety concerns arise at portables for Franklin Park Elementary School

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Silent alarms not working, portable doors not locking, and poor air quality. These are some of the claims about the conditions at the temporary campus of Franklin Park Elementary from people in the community and even staff members.

Former School Board member Gwyn Gittens said it was known for years that Franklin Park needed a rebuild.

Meaning there was more than enough time to get portables in pristine condition for students.

“Portables are still missing the silent alarm system that trips for a lockdown drill which is a safety hazard with all the active shootings that are going on around the country,” said an employee who asked to not be named. “You can see straight into the portables during a lockdown drill, there is no way that we can pull any of the blinds.”

Franklin Park Elementary School portables campus. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)

On top of that, the worker claims the front gate does not lock.

“The sense of security that our students deserve isn’t there,” the employee said.

The employee, who asked not to be named for fear of losing their job, reached out to WINK News after the story about parents and taxpayers who were worried the temporary campus looks more like a construction zone.

Franklin Park Elementary School portables campus. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)

Former school board member Gwyn Gittens said among the problems is that the temporary campus should not have portables without covered walkways. “When I was on the board, it was decided that all schools that had portables would have covers over the walkways. And because it was a real problem when it rained or inclement weather. So, they went back and fixed that.”

Franklin Park Elementary School portables campus. (Credit: WINK News)

It is clear crews have been out since the first story aired as some of the walkways are covered, but some still remain uncovered as students are in class on this temporary campus with those coverings still under construction.

The environment, the employee said, makes it difficult to learn. “I think that the staff and parents were expecting more from the portable site because we are supposed to be there for the next year and a half. And knowing that these are young kids, they deserve to have someplace that is roomy and familiar to them. This is school. They’re supposed to be there.”

Franklin Park Elementary School portables campus. (Credit: WINK News)

WINK News brought Gittens’ and the employee’s allegations to Lee County schools. The district did not respond to Gitten’s claims, but a spokesman said the district is looking into the claims made by the employee and will get back to us.

WINK News has also sent a records request to the Department of Education and the Lee County School District for a list of portables they currently own and lease and how old they are.

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