Lawrence Public Schools with highest number of critical violations since 2010
• Lawrence High: 10
• Quail Run School: 7
• Kennedy School: 5
• Prairie Park School: 5
• Schwegler School: 5
— Information provided by the Kansas Department of Agriculture
It’s the stuff of school cafeteria folklore and rumor: Creatures and critters scurrying about in the kitchen, looking to spoil a student’s lunch.
But sometimes, it’s true.
Two Lawrence schools were recently cited by the Kansas Department of Agriculture for poor pest control, after roaches and mouse droppings were discovered during routine inspections.
On Sept. 10, inspectors found “10-15 mouse droppings on a small cart in the mop room” at Sunflower School, 2521 Inverness Drive, according to an online inspection report. During a Sept. 11 inspection at Lawrence High School, 1901 La., inspectors found roaches, including “seven very active adults, juvenile, and one baby roach found in the seal on the walk-in freezer door in the basement.”
Lawrence High also racked up four other “critical violations,” which are those that could lead to food-borne illness.
School officials say they’re working to address the problem.
“Any violations cited as a result of inspections will be corrected,” said Rick Doll, Lawrence Public Schools superintendent. “We can and will do better.”
A news release sent to the Journal-World details steps the schools are taking, which include “thorough cleaning of kitchen spaces, revised methods of cleaning to reach underneath and between large kitchen equipment, improvements to kitchen facilities, and a review of the district’s contract for professional extermination services.”
Both schools received a noncompliance notice during the inspections, which is a preliminary step in the inspection process that does not initially carry fines or call for immediate closure. Since 2010, only one other Lawrence public school, West Middle School, 2700 Harvard Road, in 2010, has received such a notice.
The 21 public schools have recorded 59 critical violations since 2010, and Lawrence High has recorded the highest with 10 during that time period.
“Overall, our school nutrition programs receive excellent health inspections on a regular basis,” said Paula Murrish, the district’s division director of food services. “Despite our best efforts, mistakes are made and violations occur.”
Restaurants are inspected at least once per year, and school cafeterias twice annually, but inspectors make return visits to those with numerous critical violations and noncompliance notices.
Critical violations are not unusual in restaurants across the state. For instance, in 2012 so far, 305 Lawrence restaurants and school cafeterias have been inspected, resulting in 799 such violations.
To see a full listing of all Lawrence inspections in 2012, visit ljworld.com/restaurantinspections/