NewsLocal News


Something's afoul in the halls at Driscoll Elementary

Robstown parents, staff say bad smell is making them sick
Posted at 8:00 PM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 21:46:50-05

Robstown ISD parents and staff members are raising a stink at Robert Driscoll Jr. Elementary school over a strong odor in the school.

Some describe the smell as rotten eggs. One kindergartner told said "it smells like poo-poo."

"Right before the intercession break for the holidays, I noticed when I would go into the front sometimes it would smell," said parent Deborah Pack. "But I was told it was just a sewage problem, and I guess they were working on it."

KRIS 6 News reached out to the district Thursday morning, and were told the district's superintendent, and maintenance and operations director are both out of town. It issued this statement:

Statement Driscoll Elem in Robstown 010920.jpg

The district also said the smell has been narrowed down to one area of the school, but that several classrooms are affected.

Robstown ISD Director of Public Relations Kelsey Cook said the smell was reported in October of last year, but this is not the first instance of a stench at the school.

Cook said in May of 2017, classes were canceled for several days due to what the district called an “unpleasant smell.”

Following that incident, charcoal filters were installed in the affected area of the school. The district contacted the City’s Wastewater Department who recommended a backflow device be installed. The school district followed the city's recommendation and installed the device.

Backflow devices keep water flowing in one direction, avoiding contamination that can happen when water pressure is lost and water flows backward into the line, like the water-system equivalent of backwash.

Smoke tests and air-quality testing at that time indicated it was safe for students and faculty to return to school. Cook said a company called Envirotest performed air quality testing at the school in 2017 and 2018.

But the smell returned last year.

One parent, who did not want to be identified, said his Driscoll Elementary kindergartner comes home from school nauseated, and with headaches. He said he has been persistent in reaching out to the district about the issue -- with no results -- and is considering removing his student from the school.

Robstown ISD said the school notices the smell is stronger when the weather pattern changes or when there are high winds. They also mentioned the smell is more intense early afternoon. It has been working to install charcoal filters in the remainder of the school.

Wednesday afternoon a plumbing specialist went to the school and is returning again Thursday to continue testing.

"I mean if it's something that needs to be taken care of, I mean, of course, you know -- I'm sure ... I would hope our school board, and people with the school district, are gonna take care of it," Pack said.