Get our free newsletter

On Feb. 16, Jefferson Junior High School ninth-grader Devin Kennedy testified in front of the D.C. Board of Education about a heating problem at his school. His classroom is so cold, he said, that students keep on their coats until noon, when the heat usually kicks on. Alex Jones, another student at the school, says that 50 percent of the classrooms on the first and second floors are without heat, and the third floor has none at all. But there’s another temperature problem at Jefferson, according to Alex’s father, Bryan Jones. The school’s basement is “as hot as a desert.” Jefferson’s principal, Willie Reeves, declined to comment but confirmed the school’s heating problems. “As a parent, you wonder, How do students study in such conditions?” says Jones. The answer comes from Alex’s friend William Jackson: “You’ll see girls walking around [in the basement] with wet towels on their heads,” he says. —Constantine Caloudas