Unidentified odor at Gillis still under investigation - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Unidentified odor at Gillis still under investigation

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When circumstances require 800 children be evacuated from an elementary school, there's bound to be a bit of confusion.  But students at Gillis elementary did just as they were instructed and walked in single file from the school to another safe location.  All the while, most held on to each other to make sure no one got lost.

The evacuation was out of an abundance of caution after an unidentified odor was detected in the school.  some of the children noticed it..
Said little Cera Arndt,"I smelled it right by the cafeteria. It was stinky."

There will no doubt be some who think it was overkill to close the school but  school board spokesman Kirby Smith said they always follow the recommendation of local emergency responders.

"We definitely want to comply with whatever local law enforcement wants, if the police department thinks it's best to send the kids home, even though it's a major hassle and inconvenience for the parents, we're going to do the right thing," said Smith.

The school board sent out nearly 2000 phone calls and 500 emails-- though some parents found out from unofficial sources.

"A friend called me and told me it was on KPLC.  You have to have your drivers license and they have to look you up and make sure," explained Ella Wright, who was walking her children from the parking area.

Police had parents park at a local business and walk to where  students  were assembled to pick up their kids.   Most parents appeared pleased with the handling of the situation.

"I thank God that they acted as quickly as they did and got our kids to the church.  I love Gillis elementary. I thank God for the staff," said Emily Ashworth, a parent.

And one lesson parents learned is the importance of making sure school officials have their current phone number and email address.

"Lesson learned:  If your phone number isn't updated it needs to be updated.  That's something we're going to take care of today," said Clint Farris.

No word of any injuries...just an early start to the weekend for students at Gillis Elementary.

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