Water leak at school prompts walkout


October 24, 1990|By Marina Sarris and Robert Hilson | Marina Sarris and Robert Hilson,Evening Sun Staff

About 200 students at Meade High School refused to attend classes for about two hours today because of water leaks into some rooms and hallways at the Anne Arundel County school.

The students returned to classes only after meeting with school and county administrators, school officials said. That delayed the start of the first-period class by three hours, to 10:30 a.m.

Shirley A. Hicks, director of high schools for Anne Arundel County, said some student leaders were scheduled to meet with school principal Stanley Stawas and other administrators after the protesting students returned to class.

"I suspect that the students now feel that their problems are being addressed," Hicks said. "They believed that they shouldn't have to come to school, concerned about their safety. The students realized that we would respond to their questions."

Yesterday's heavy rains leaked through holes and tears in the school's roof, which was under repair, administrators said. Most of the water damage was confined to a small section on the top floor of the three-story building, Hicks said.

Ron Beckett, assistant superintendent for support services for county schools, said the roof, which has been under construction for at least two weeks, had "a great number of leaks."

With good weather, replacement of the roof could be completed within a month, Beckett said.

"We're trying to assess the situation and reassure people," Beckett said. "We're trying to make sure the environment is safe for everyone."

A 17-year-old Meade senior who did not take part in the protest, but who asked to remain unidentified, said water began leaking into her classroom this morning.

"It's really terrible," she said. The school's carpets have grown musty from leaks during the past year, she said.

Most of the protesters milled about in the school football stadium, while others gathered in the auditorium or in front of the school. The school has an enrollment of more than 1,600.

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