The Latest: Detroit mayor sees dead mouse, cold schoolkids

AP News
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Posted: Jan 12, 2016 12:23 PM

DETROIT (AP) — The latest on a teacher "sick-out" that has closed some Detroit public schools as teachers complain about rodents and other issues at the buildings (all times local):

12:25 p.m.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says he saw a dead mouse, cold children wearing coats in classrooms and a warped gym floor during a morning tour of some of the city's public schools.

Duggan toured the buildings on Tuesday. He says the condition of Detroit's schools is a "mixed bag" with some buildings in good shape. But he says teachers who have complained about mold, rodents and other workplace issues have legitimate concerns.

More than 20 schools were closed Tuesday due to a sick-out by teachers. The district didn't immediately know how many students were forced to stay home. The district serves about 46,000 students in 100 schools.

Duggan visited the schools with city inspectors. The mayor doesn't control the school system but says he can order building improvements. He's promising a plan by Wednesday.

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8 a.m.

Many Detroit schools are closed again because of an absence of teachers, although the number has dropped.

The district reported at least 22 closings Tuesday, compared to more than 60 Monday. The so-called sick-out started last week with a handful of schools.

Teachers are upset over class sizes, pay, the condition of buildings and a plan by Gov. Rick Snyder to deal with millions of debt by creating a new district.

At a rally Monday, teacher Theresa Williams held a sign that said, "I have 39 first-graders in my classroom."

There are 100 schools in the district.

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1 a.m.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan plans to tour some public school buildings following complaints by a teachers union about rodent infestations and mold.

Duggan says in a statement that based on what is found during Tuesday's tour, "the city of Detroit will take whatever enforcement action is necessary to make sure all Detroit public schools are compliant with all health and building codes."

The complaints by the Detroit Federation of Teachers followed a wave of absences by teachers that forced the financially troubled district to close 64 schools Monday. The teachers union is not part of the so-called sick-outs.

Teachers have undertaken the sick-outs to protest their pay and call for smaller class sizes, among other things.