LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Parents were outraged their children were forced to use portable toilets after a plumbing problem caused a sewage backup at a South Los Angeles elementary school.
The incident happened Tuesday morning at 107th Street Elementary located at 147 East 107th Street.
The Los Angeles Unified School District said a clogged pipe forced the sewage to spill into the kitchen and into several student bathrooms.
As a result, the school closed the restrooms and brought in portable toilets. The cafeteria was also sealed off and students were fed cold lunches in the auditorium.
Parent Roberta Perales said she pulled her 5-year-old daughter out of school when she saw the line of toilets on the playground.
“It’s unsanitary. It’s disgusting,” she said. “If I didn’t come and drop off my daughter here, I would have never known this was happening because the school is not calling and letting the parents know that there are 20 (portable toilets) for them to use.”
“It’s a health issue. They could catch hepatitis…there’s a lot of infections out there that these kids could catch,” said parent Mireya Falcon.
The district said the pipe was fixed and the sewage was cleaned up by the afternoon.
Administrators also claimed there was never any health risk to the students.
“After we do a cleanup, we take some swab samples, send them to lab, takes about 48 hours, once we get those results, if it’s all clear, we release the areas back to student use. All the highest precautions are taken to ensure the safety and health of everybody,” said LAUSD Director of Maintenance Roger Finstad.
Parents, however, said there have been problems with the school’s bathrooms in the past.
“I’ve witnessed kids, a boy, using the restroom outside of the restroom because he said he doesn’t want to go in there because there’s water on the floor,” said Perales.
“I don’t like (the bathrooms) at all because they’re dirty,” a student told KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar.
Another child said, “Some people say they don’t want to use it and they want new bathrooms.”
The district said the restrooms are cleaned daily and the plumbing problem is an isolated incident.