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MURRAY — Recess is supposed to be fun, but lately, it’s turning into a stinky mess for students in the Murray School District because of dog feces littering the playground.
“We’re scraping the poop off of their shoes,” said Teresa Bigelow, the secretary at McMillan Elementary. “It’s been in the hall. It’s been in my office. It’s been in the classroom. So yeah, it’s a mess.”
Teachers, secretaries, and recess monitors districtwide are dealing with students stepping, sitting or rolling in dog droppings.
“I’ve got pants and shirts because they’ve fallen in it,” Bigelow said about the extra clothes she keeps in her office for students.
School employees said the issue is causing disruptions to the school day and upsetting students.
“We had a kid earlier who broke down because of it,” said Kerri McCullough, a music teacher and recess aide.
McCullough said frustrations are reaching a boiling point.
“It’s almost a daily basis,” she said. “It is so frustrating to come to school knowing that that is going to be part of your job: to clean up after somebody else who did not clean up.”
The district said it doesn’t have the money or enough employees to supervise the school grounds around the clock. It’s asking the public to clean up after their pets and remind others to do the same.
“When our recess duties notice it, we try to help children remove it before they enter the building,” said a district blog post published Thursday. “Sometimes it’s so bad we have to replace shoes and clothing items with what we have on hand or by calling parents. Other times, it goes unnoticed until a child comes in from recess and spreads it on flooring (including carpet), interrupting instruction and embarrassing students.”
The district said if a reminder doesn’t work that violations can be reported to law enforcement.
“Not cleaning up after a pet on school grounds violates Utah Code 53G-7-210,” the blog post said. “This school trespass law protects against the misuse of school grounds that ‘interferes with school function or purpose.'”