Warren County High School let some students out early yesterday when toilets backed up in the downstairs bathrooms next to the cafeteria.
WCHS principal Anthony Cassell said the condition is temporary, but since the cafeteria drains were affected and lunch could not be served, it was decided to let students who drive check out early.
“We were notified about a half hour before lunch there was a strong odor in one of our downstairs restrooms,” said Cassell. “We had some drains that were backing up a little bit, clear water, but it affected the use of our kitchen facility so we postponed lunch for about an hour. We pushed kids to fifth period that usually go to lunch after fourth in hopes we could rectify the situation, clean up, be ready to go for our kids.”
But the backup of sewage turned out to be a little more involved and maintenance had to be called.
“When it was determined the issue might take a little longer than anticipated we went ahead and made the decision, in the best interest of the kids, to go ahead and dismiss the kids who drive. Of course some of the parents came then to pick up their kids.”
Cassell said not all students were let out and the buses would run at the normal time to take the rest of the students home. He also said none of the students went hungry.
“We always have lunch carts that go out into the hallways during our one-hour lunch,” Cassell said. “And we felt confident we had enough lunches between that and our bookstore that serves some things, to serve the rest of the kids who were remaining.
Cassell said things should be back to normal for school Friday.
“The maintenance guys are working on the situation,” Cassell said. “I’m sure there’s probably a blockage somewhere in one of the lines, so we’ll get that taken care of and get on with it.”
Cassell said he did not think this was a repeat of the recent situation at the jail, where prisoners deliberately stopped up the toilets to protest a shortage of hot dogs.
“I don’t care if you’re at home or you’re at school, these things get backed up,” Cassell said. “This building is 20 years old and it wouldn’t surprise me if too much got stuffed in a toilet and got it backed up, but I’ve not heard any official word related to that.”
School system maintenance supervisor Donnie Caldwell was on hand and said that was indeed the case.
“We’re finding a lot of stuff in the lines,” Caldwell said. “Some personal stuff and some rags, Brillo pads. We’re trying to get it cleared out but we’ve still got it stopped up.”
Caldwell said he saw no evidence there was any material intentionally put in commodes.
“I don’t think it’s that,” Caldwell said. “There could be stuff that’s been in there for years and it’s finally showing up. We’re just finding stuff that looks like it’s been in the line for a while and it’s finally stopping it up.”
Caldwell said it may take some time to clear everything out, but the plan is to have everything back in operation Friday.
“We’ll stay here until it’s done,” Caldwell said, noting a similar situation at Dibrell a couple of years ago turned out to be a pair of eyeglasses.