9/1/2014

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Bakersfield schools spend $36K on emergency classroom toilets

Bakersfield schools spend $36K on emergency classroom toilets

BAKERSFIELD, Calif.  --A school district in Bakersfield, Calif. is preparing for the worst by buying portable plastic toilets.

"Last year, we had 14 lockdowns in the Kern High School District, and many of them lasted maybe five or 10 minutes,” said district spokesman John Teves. "The longest that I saw was two hours."

The portable toilets, or lockdown kits, include a 5-gallon bucket, a bag of kitty litter, toilet paper, gloves and other sanitation items, as well as a privacy curtain. 

Teves said the kits may seem strange, until they are necessary.

"Five minutes or two hours, if it comes at just the right time for a particular student, it’s going to be too long," Teves said.

The idea of in-classroom emergency toilets is nothing new. Schools across the nation have implemented the toilets in their classrooms for years.

Teves said the district has been gradually purchasing the toilets for quite a while, but now was the opportune time to provide them on a wider scale.

"This year, as a district, we bought it district wide in order to get the most cost-effective rate on our cost," he said. "We were able to buy these for about $20 each. We bought a total of 1,800, so it was a cost of about $36,000."

Teves said he understands the lockdown kits may seem peculiar, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

"It would be regrettable. It would be traumatic if a child had to go to the bathroom in the classroom during a lockdown. On the other hand, some of the shootings, some of the mass slayings of children at school are such that we can't be too careful," Teves said.

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