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Adventure Elementary in Mapleton – Where the Stench from sewage backup was so bad that parents took their kids out of school yesterday.

November 11, 2016
Trying to cut into the sewer line at Adventure Elementary School in Mapleton (just north of Denver) to locate the source of the stench

Trying to cut into the sewer line at Adventure Elementary School in Mapleton (just north of Denver) to locate the source of the stench

The photo is of the east side of Adventure Elementary School in Mapleton. (Yesterday, November 10, 2016)  In addition to having to deal with the national stink of a Donald Trump presidency, students and teachers at Adventure had an added more immediate bad smell of their own.

In addition to having to deal with the national stink a Donald Trump presidency, students and teachers at Adventure had an added more immediate bad smell of their own.

The stench from waste back up in the sewer system was so bad that parents came to school and took their children out of class.For others, class and lunch was held outdoors. A whole wing of the building has been shut down and classrooms forced to move elsewhere in the building.

Today as I went by and stood outside a fence to take a few pictures some one hundred feet away from the building, the smell was pretty bad; yesterday I am told it was far worse.

I am familiar with this particular school as one of my daughters, Molly, has been a teacher there. I’ve spoken in her class a number of times as have a few of her friends, something for me which was a great pleasure. The student body is heavily Latino, mostly Chicano, with some Central Americans; many speak Spanish at home. Working class and Chicano are the main cultural markers of the students.

This particular incident is not the first time I’ve heard about “the smell” but it became so overwhelming this time that many parents pulled their kids from school and a major TV news outlet, Channel 7 News, covered the story. Yesterday both parents and students on Thursday told Denver7 reporter Mark Boyle that the smell throughout the school is so strong, it was making some people sick. Nor was this the first time it’s happened. “Parents said the problem has persisted for years.” the news article said.

Yesterday both parents and students on Thursday told Denver7 reporter Mark Boyle that the smell throughout the school is so strong, it was making some people sick. Nor was this the first time it’s happened. “Parents said the problem has persisted for years.” the news article said.

“They say it stinks, it’s interfering with their learning, I mean, they can’t focus, it’s not good for their health, its natural gas, its waste, you know? It’s waste for a reason,” said Evonne Martinez, who’s a parent of a student at Adventure Academy Elementary. Students like 5th grader Jackie Morales said they’re feeling those health effects.

“It smelled so bad, I almost threw up and I get bad headaches and that makes it worse – bad,” said Morales.

The Maple district leadership, well versed in the problem, told Denver7 that a permanent fix would cost millions of dollars. The school is set to be torn down and re-built if the $150 million bond issue from Tuesday passes. But, with some outstanding ballots, the bond is 104 votes short.

“We’re doing everything we can to try to fix the problem, as I said, keeping our children safe, their children safe and healthy is the most important thing to us,” said Lynn Setzer, spokesperson for the Mapleton School District.The district said they’re going to continue to bring this bond issue before voters if in fact it fails, until they’re able to rebuild old schools like this one.

The district has been approved for a state grant of $7 million which is primarily made up of marijuana money, but in order to get the money, the district has to match.“It’s a great point for the parents to know that if this ballot doesn’t pass and we get it next year, how important it is to vote because, I mean, our kids are our future,” said Martinez. Now, all eyes are on the bond election results as parents frustrations continue to mount.  School has been canceled for Friday and Monday as crews continue to repair the problem.

Regardless if the bond issue passes or not, the situation is intolerable and unsustainable in its current form. And that the district has known about it “for years” and not addressed it is irresponsible, bordering on criminal. Time for the Colorado Dept. of Health to step in I would think if they haven’t already. And one has to also ask, where is the Colorado Education Association in all this, the union to which the teachers belong? Their response appears as lack luster as the Mapleton administration to date.

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