Problems with Dog Poo Persist at One Charlottesville School
Problems with dog waste at a Charlottesville elementary school have city council taking action, and it all started with a group of first grade students raising a big stink about it.
When the final school bell rings at Clark Elementary School, it's time to play, but lately a group of 11 first graders say that's been hard to do. That's because of the dog poop they find just about everywhere - in the grass, on the sidewalk and even in their class garden.
"It's gross and it just sickens people out and we don't like to look at it," said first grader Paige Bragg.
So last year, as kindergarten students, with the help of their teacher Ms. Cartwright, the class petitioned Charlottesville City Council to put up signs asking people with dogs to pick up after them.
Now an entire school year after the kids got their signs installed, the problems continued and even got worse. Some students think the sign just might be too tall.
They recently sent a second letter to city council to try and find a better solution. Councilor Dede Smith read it aloud at Monday's meeting.
"It was very compelling. They were very thoughtful about the problem," Smith said. "They had worked for a long time, had been persistent, and had come up with a solution."
Besides lowering the signage, students also suggested banning dogs either during school hours or all together, or making waste bags available.
"I think the children now have given some wonderful ideas and we will follow through," said Smith.
Ms. Cartwright is happy the students have learned so much.
"You don't necessarily expect kindergarteners and first graders to be fully versed on how city government is run, but I think they've learned a lot," Cartwright said.
Besides learning, they hope to finally solve their problems with puppy poo.
City council will discuss the matter at a future meeting. The actions taken by this one group of students at Clark Elementary could mean changes to how Charlottesville deals with dogs - and their owners - at schools across the city.
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Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story