Imagine trying to study or teach while smelling a stench so strong you actually become sick to your stomach. For the students and staff at Choctaw County Elementary School, that nauseating scenario is their reality.
"I have real bad headaches and I have been back and forth to the doctors ever since we've been in this building, because of the smells," said school counselor, Nona Anderson.
The school is only six years old and has been dealing with several problems related to possible poor construction. The smell was first noticed during the 2010 spring semester. When students returned from summer break, the odor had become nearly unbearable.
"Some days we have had to dismiss our students and let them go outside because the smell was so bad," said principal A. Wayne Longmire. "I've had students check out and complain of stomach aches, nausea, and so forth."
The school has taken the advice of several experts to solve the odor problem. Over the past few months, hallway floors have been torn up, drains have been flushed, sewer holes have been sealed, and exhaust fans have been installed, but the smell remains.
"We are concerned for the safety of our students and our staff," said assistant superintendent A. Wayne Longmire. "We want the parents to feel their children can come here and breathe quality air."
The issues the school has with faulty construction could not be discussed because the district is still in litigation with the company that built it. For now, there has been a sewage trap installed that is drained daily to keep the odor at bay.