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Water Problem Leaves Kindergarten Students Without Bathroom

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. - Gracie Catlan, 4, said she was nervous all day because she was afraid she could have had an accident. Gracie's mother, Christine was moved to tears over her daughter's discomfort.

"I needed to use the bathroom but I couldn't because there was no water," Gracie said.

"It breaks my heart to see my kids go through this," Christine Catlan said.

District leaders with the Haywood County School System said a water main break at Anderson Early Childhood Center, which educates four to six year-old children, happened as their 500 students were already on their way to school. Associate Superintendent Art Garrett said Wednesday was not a normal day but children were happy and completely safe.

"We want parents to know that children's safety is our priority," he said.

Anytime a student needed to use the restroom the entire classroom got on a bus and were driven to Haywood Elementary which is about a third of a mile away. The school district said it followed a laid out district protocol for emergency situations like this one.

"We really had no problems," Garrett said.

D'andria Byaros said in serious emergencies students used the restrooms at Anderson but were unable to flush. She said she was embarrassed for her fellow classmates.

"There was lots of accidents," she said.

Haywood County Schools said in times of emergencies, parents do not need to be notified if children are transported. Christine Catlan says she was furious Gracie and her son David were forced to go through the day without a working bathroom in their building and because her children were removed from the school without her permission.

"When I heard about it I was very upset and I was shaken I didn't know if my kids were here or not," she said.

Garrett said the school will remain open.
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