“I basically just flipped,” said Corinne Eno, chair of the Berkeley High school Grounds Committee, describing her reaction when asked to organize a campus clean-up in advance of an Arts Festival today.
It’s not that Eno hasn’t organized campus clean-ups before. In fact, in her role on the Grounds Committee, she is often called up before big events to organize a last minute effort
But Eno has been after the school district for years to get custodial staff dedicated to the goal of keeping the campus clean year round, so emergency clean ups wouldn’t have to happen. And in all that time nothing has improved, Eno said.
Friday, describing hedge rows strewn with trash and a stairwell on Allston Way abuzz with flies because of all the trash left there day after day.
“We’ve made numerous complaints at all levels and nothing is ever done,” Eno said. “It’s an ongoing and horrible problem.”
Even when the students went away on spring break earlier this month, Eno said the campus was apparently not cleaned up.
“The trash was still there, even after they’d had a week with no kids,” Eno said.
Judging from the reaction Eno received after sending a defiant e-mail announcing that should would not organize a campus clean up this time, a lot of Berkeley High parents are just as fed up with the state of the campus.
“I’ve been deluged with e-mails and phone calls [expressing support]” Eno said. “People are disgusted, they’re frustrated, they’re embarrassed.”
Eno said one father wrote of his shame when he goes to sporting events at Berkeley High and sees visitors noticing the quantity of garbage around the field.
When no effort is made to keep the campus regularly, clean students feel no compunction not to litter, Eno said.
“It leads to this attitude of, well, if it’s filthy it doesn’t matter,” she said.
“Parents need to say loud and clear that they’re not going to accept this situation any more.”
District Interim Superintendent Stephen Goldstone said Friday that he has heard the message loud and clear.
“There’s going to be a major effort [to keep the campus cleaner],” Goldstone said.
Indeed, after Eno’s e-mail, custodial staff gave the campus a complete going over Wednesday, pruning the shrubbery and picking up litter.
Goldstone said he took a complete tour of the campus and the perimeter Friday.
“The perimeter still had a lot of trash and weeds,” he said.