Superintendent: Water problems didn't make for long lines at schools
There were no reports of elementary students waiting in long lines to use the bathroom during the Thursday school day, which ended early due to a water service disruption, St. Mary Parish Schools Superintendent Teresa Bagwell said Friday in response to a Lafayette TV station’s report.
A report Thursday by KLFY said students in the elementary level had to wait in lengthy lines to use the bathroom after multiple buildings had “little to no running water or low water pressure.”
Bagwell said B. Edward Boudreaux Middle School and West St. Mary High School, which are located on the same Baldwin campus, and Lagrange Elementary in Franklin and Raintree Elementary in Baldwin had “intermittent” water pressure. She said this was discovered Thursday morning.
She said the same water district services the four schools.
“The school system was informed that the water pressure would likely recover,” Bagwell said.
“Yet, in an effort to stabilize bathroom usage at Raintree Elementary, additional water supplies were delivered and utilized by custodial and maintenance staff. Students in elementary schools typically line up to use restroom facilities as teachers escort their classes for such breaks. There were no reports by school staff of any long lines of students waiting to use the restroom.”
Bagwell said the decision to open school Thursday came after school administrators and maintenance staff assessed their facilities Wednesday for any impacts from the bitter cold. The district also was in “constant contact” with local government leaders, water district personnel and the Office of Homeland Security to determine utility service, weather and road conditions for Thursday, the superintendent said.
“The information fully indicated that the school system could safely open schools as scheduled on Thursday,” Bagwell said.
Parent and St. Mary Parish Councilman Craig A. Mathews of Jeanerette disagreed.
“This was just totally negligent in my opinion,” Mathews told KLFY. “We knew the water pressure would not be up in time to have these children return to school today.”
Bagwell said that schools cooked meals for students, and bottled water was available, if needed. School resumed Monday as the leak in the system that furnished water to the schools was fixed, and water capacity was tested at the schools, Bagwell said Friday.