City school ran out of water
Bottled water exhausted at Holabird Academy; reorder went unfilled
Teachers and parents of students at Holabird Academy said the Southeast Baltimore school ran out of bottled water Thursday.
Anna Perez, who has two young boys at Holabird, said she received a text from her son’s teacher at 1:15 p.m.
“Hey I wanted you to know that there is no water at the school and there hasn’t been all morning,” the text read. “Idk [I don’t know] why they haven’t told parents but I wanted you to know in case you want to bring the boys up something to drink.”
Perez, 27, brought water bottles to her sons and their classmates. She said she was nervous because her pre-kindergartner has asthma.
Holabird students, like those at many city schools, are not permitted to drink from the school’s fountains or faucets because the water may be contaminated with lead.
The school district spends about half a million dollars each year to supply water jugs and coolers to schools located in older buildings with lead pipes. The bottled water coolers are positioned in classrooms and hallways.
Holabird Principal Stephanie Pappas declined to comment Thursday. City schools spokeswoman Edie House-Foster said the children would have water today.
“They ran out of water around noon and contacted the water vendor,” she said. “They were promised water [Thursday] afternoon, and the delivery did not come. They’re expecting it tonight and to have water tomorrow. If not, [the principal] will make other arrangements.”
A representative for Deer Park, the company that supplies city schools with bottled water, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Other parents said they were unaware of the situation until they picked children up from school at 3:40 p.m.
Gena McCray said her 6-year-old son told her the jug he uses to refill his water bottle was empty during the school day. McCray said she wishes she had known so she could have brought water to his classroom.
“It’s a need-to-know kind of thing,” said McCray, 44. “Parents need to know whether their children are receiving necessities at school.”
The district announced plans in July to take steps to end the system’s 10-year reliance on bottled water by eventually installing lead filters across nearly 160 schools in Baltimore. The city’s newer schools are equipped with filters and lead-free pipes.