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BH students start school week without heat

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Some Benton Harbor students were dressed in jackets and blankets while in school on Tuesday because the district’s heat system was slow to start up for the season.

“Someone on my newsfeed said, ‘ya’ll kids is up their freezing,” said Anita Jones, a mother who has several kids and grandchildren attending Benton Harbor Area Schools.

That Facebook post Jones saw was about Benton Harbor High School on Monday.

Soon after, Audrey Lewis got a robocall from the district.

“Stating that something was wrong with the heating system,” Lewis said. “And the kids should wear warm sweatshirts and just dress warm for [Tuesday].”

Jones and Lewis sent their children to school on Tuesday all bundled up.

But the kids said it was so cold inside, they could see their breath at points.

“I felt like they maybe should’ve canceled school until they get it fixed, or whatever’s going on – until it gets heated up,” Jones said.

The district said the boilers in at least the high school and the middle school were never broken; it just took a while for them to heat up for the start of winter.

As of 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the district said the heat was working properly again.

But Lewis said the schools should’ve planned ahead or called school off while things warmed up.

“I’d rather for them to miss a couple days then have the whole entire school sick and everybody catching everybody’s germs,” she said. “That’s a lot.”

The district had a pre-scheduled half day on Tuesday, so students were able to go home pretty early.

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