Beware of Trailer Schools (“Temporary Classroom Units”)

Dear Editor:

Schools are re-opening.
If your child is expected to attend school in a trailer, aka as a TCU (Temporary Classroom Unit), beware…

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The NJ Education Association says NJ’s estimated 100,000 TCUs are not temporary:
“…most of them remain in use indefinitely” and “Trailers shouldn’t be used beyond the recommended life of the unit, never more than 20 years, assuming excellent maintenance.”

Beware “temporary” classrooms

Further, TCUs are notorious for having poor ventilation, a situation ideal for the spread of viruses such as Covid-19.

Since 2001, North Bergen’s 17-TCU preschool has violated NJDEP regulations.
NJDEP ignored the violations until 2011, and since then, it has failed to take legal action to remove the preschool.
Recently, North Bergen betrayed its $65 million voter referendum designed to move the preschoolers into elementary schools; that’s what voters were promised.

The malfeasance gets worse…

North Bergen’s TCUs were not properly inspected and reported for health and safety issues such as:
Missing, broken, rotten, moldy external walls, roof gutters and downspouts, exposed nails and electrical wires, broken and insecure electrical conduit, tree limbs resting on overhead electric wires, touching TCU roofs, groundhog holes under virtually every TCU and the lack of two required emergency exits in every TCU.
Fortunately, school was not in session when a tree fell on electric wires, igniting a fire that destroyed two TCUs, otherwise evacuation could have been problematic.

In light of NJEA’s warning about never using TCUs for more than 20 years, I asked the Hudson County NJ DOE Schools Superintendent several times “Will you insist that these ancient TCUs be replaced or removed?”
NJ DOE hasn’t answered.

NJ parents: How old, how safe are your child’s TCUs?

Robert Walden

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