AUSTIN (KXAN) — Parents lined up outside Dobie Middle School in northeast Austin on Tuesday after the campus lost power.
“Anybody could have entered the school and anything could have happened,” said Kristie Rodriguez, who was picking up her son. “So, I am really upset that nobody even called.”
Some parents told KXAN they had no idea there was a power outage until their students called them complaining about hot conditions inside the school.
“The first thing when we walked in, it was pitch black,” said student Albert Rodriguez.
KXAN reached out to the Austin Independent School District for more information and received the below message, which was addressed to the Dobie community, from the principal.
Good morning, Dobie Community, This morning, the seventh- and eighth-grade areas of our campus were without power. Sixth grade was unaffected. Seventh- and eighth-graders went to the gym until power was restored at about 10:10 a.m. Students who normally eat lunch in the cafeteria will receive a sack lunch. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 512-414-3270. Thank you for your patience and support.Principal Kevin Garcia, Dobie Middle School
Parents who were taking their students home told KXAN they did not receive communication from the school but learned about the conditions from their kids.
“It is a big concern, because everything that is going on around the schools, the shootings,” said parent Kristie Rodriguez. “Our kids come first, so I am glad my son called me.”
“They haven’t had any electricity since school began this morning,” one parent said as she was leaving the school with her daughter.
Parents sent KXAN pictures of a dead raccoon they believe is related to the outage, but AISD could not confirm when we asked.
“There are so many levels of safety that I was very concerned about for myself and my son, so I decided to go home,” Ofelia Reedy, who is a teacher and parent at Dobie, said.
AISD told KXAN the electrical system at Dobie went down due to a closed system being tripped by a rodent. The age of the system meant when it went down, multiple things failed. Typically this would have been a 30-minute issue and not a four-hour issue.
According to Matias Segura, chief of operations, the bond program would enable Dobie to get a new electrical system with more redundancy, which would help isolate or localize problems, minimizing the disruption in terms of the scope and the time required to fix the problem. An enclosure project would also help prevent rodents and small animals from getting to the wiring as well.
On Monday, KXAN spoke with students at another Austin ISD campus experiencing facility issues — McCallum High School. The students there said they’ve had to deal with unbearably hot classrooms, leaking ceilings and rodents.