Kids at school without air, parents outraged

July 21, 2011 (CHICAGO) A group of summer school students are dealing with the heat in a building that does not have air conditioning.

Parents say that there are more than 150 students in summer school at William Penn Elementary School, and that a large portion of them are taking the Illinois Standard Achievement Test Thursday.

On Thursday, outraged parents held a news conference outside of the Lawndale neighborhood to discuss their concerns. They say 23 students were sent home Monday due to vomiting and heat exhaustion. They also point out nearly two dozen of the students have asthma and the heat can be dangerous for them.

People from the community brought water on ice to the school Thursday for the students. Upset parents said Chicago Public School officials promised air conditioning last year, but they never delivered.

"How can you come to school and learn when you can't breathe properly? So in my opinion -- CPS, if you are listening -- you need to expedite central air in this building. These students have made significant improvement, and they deserve to come here comfortably to learn, not just be piled in here sweating, which will cause tension and aggravation. Who is going to learn?" said parent Cheryl Fox.

According to CPS spokesperson Becky Carol, 24 fans were delivered to the school in June.

"If children are sick because of heat or any other illness, they will not be penalized if they need to miss class. If any child is sick today they can take the test tomorrow. Also, the children taking the ISAT today at the school will do so in offices that are air conditioned," Carol said in a statement.

CPS officials say they have delivered 1,500 fans to schools this summer.

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