The front page of Sunday’s Bulletin featured an outrageous story of a lax attitude toward fire safety at Bend-La Pine Schools.
If you are a parent of a child in the schools, you should be at the next school board meeting.
If you pay taxes to the school district, you should be there, too.
The district has fire code issues at Summit High School and possibly more schools, according to inspections. Fire alarms are blocked and untested. Smoke dampers are disabled.
Who allowed that to happen? Why hadn’t inspectors noticed it before? How bad is the problem? Is it at other schools? What is the district going to do about it?
Of course, the district is responding. It is doing testing at Sky View and Three Rivers schools and will move on next to Bend High and Cascade Middle. Other schools will be tested, as well. The district says it is going to finish the testing at schools over winter break.
But how did the district let it get to this point? Why is it OK to prop open smoke dampers so smoke from a fire can move freely through the building?
The public deserves an explanation. Children, teachers and other district staff deserve school buildings that are up to code and a sincere commitment to fire safety. The last thing the district needs the next time it goes out for a school bond is to give voters reason to believe the district is sloppy on such a fundamental issue.
The next meeting of the school board is Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the district’s Education Center, 520 NW Wall St., Bend.
Be there to hold the district accountable.
The school board should demand the district complete an independent report on what went wrong.