Lawsuit filed against Florence School District One

The lawsuit was filed late Tuesday afternoon with the Court of Common Pleas at the Florence Clerk of Court Office.

It centers around a sewage problem at Delmae Elementary School.

Parents, Dana Shriver and Joy Jacobus, are suing the district saying it failed to provide their children with a reasonably safe location to attend school.

Two weeks ago, a problem with the sewer system forced officials with Florence School District One to cancel outside recess and close two bathrooms at Delmae.

District officials say either a faucet was left on or a faulty valve on a toilet overloaded the septic system with water causing the back up.

Crews dug several holes around the playground to fix the drainage problem.

Shriver and Jacobus argue by digging large holes near the plumbing lines, the district caused raw sewage, wastewater and other waste products to leach into the soil near the playground.

The lawsuit says raw sewage was present in the soil for an extended period without intervention by the school district.

The parents say after the raw sewage entered the soil near the playground their children played in, dug through and possibly even consumed the contaminated soil.

As a result of exposure to the soil, Shriver and Jacobus say their children became seriously ill and suffered symptons, including but not limited to, severe headache, fever, gastronintestinal complications, fatigue and mood changes.

The parents also argue that when the school was built in 1957 its septic tank system was intended to accommodate 400 students instead of the 800 plus students at the school now.

They say the septic system has been problematic for years.

Shriver and Jacobus are seeking actual, special and consequential damages.

Florence School District One officials are on vacation for Christmas break, so we couldn't get a comment on the lawsuit.

However, they released a news release on the matter last week.

The release said maintenance crews mixed lime into the soil to combat any bacteria that may be present. Officials say combined with lime and exposure to oxygen, top layer bacteria is expected to die off quickly.

District administrators say the Department of Health and Environmental Control doesn't require them to remove the top layer of soil because the lime will kill the bacteria.

The district maintains students were never exposed to any raw sewage.

The district says they follow the same procedure as the City of Florence when there is a drainage problem.

District officials say they called in an outside contractor to take a look at the situation as a backup.

The lawsuit questions if an outside contractor was called in.

Shriver says they've asked several times for documentation as to who the outside contractor is and the findings from the contractor's report.

Rose Mary Parham, S. Randall Hood, and John G. Felder are representing the plaintiffs.

We'll let you know when the school district responds to the lawsuit.