Lawrenceburg parent says mold in school made son sick

Branston Mashburn

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (WKRN) – A parent believes his son likely got sick after spending time in a classroom with mold.

Branston Mashburn
Branston Mashburn

“Ever since this school year he always comes home with some sort of headache or some type of sinus problem,” explained Kerry Mashburn.

His son Branston is an eighth grader at New Prospect Elementary in Lawrenceburg.

The seventh and eighth graders have been attending class in the portables since August.

Branston told his father about the mold. Mashburn said he then expressed his concern to a teacher in November, but the school district only moved the students to other classrooms last week.

“I’m satisfied to a point they got them out of the portables, but I’m not satisfied as to what kind of damage was done to my son or to the other kids,” said Mashburn.

He wanted to know why it took so long for the kids to be moved, so News 2 went to the school district to get answers.

“The minute that we were notified at central office of the potential problem testing was ordered,” stated Shannon Watson, the communications director for the school district.

She also said that notification first came from maintenance crews who reported a mold problem in December. Watson said tests were done over winter break.

“Students were allowed back in the portables because testing showed that it was OK and safe. We were given the ‘all clear’ for the students to be in those portables until the end of the school year,” said Watson.

Still, last week, Watson said the school district moved the students out as a precaution.

“Due to the heightened concern for our students, our system made the decision to immediately remove the students regardless of those tests showing it was OK for the rest of the school year,” explained Watson.

The president of the group that inspected the mold, Geno Swick, said he didn’t find a heavy presence of mold that was out of the norm in the air samples when he went to inspect the portables in December.

He said based on what he saw, mold in the bathroom and heavy dust on the computers and keyboards, he recommended the students be removed from the portables until it was cleaned.

“Safety is the number one thing. If kids can’t be safe than they can’t learn,” Mashburn told News 2.

He said his son still has symptoms even though he’s no longer learning in the portables. Branston went to the doctor Thursday and was told he needs a breathing machine.

According to Watson, every school nurse countywide is counting how many students showed up with allergy related symptoms so they can find out if more students at the New Prospect School have symptoms.

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