School Stench

What caused the foul smell that had students and staff squeezing their noses?

By Mike Smale, Current Staff

Was it a stink bomb set off by a freshman?  Or was it a sewage backup?  Maybe it was simply a very unclean bathroom. Whatever it was, everyone smelled it.

On Tuesday, March 11, a striking smell wafted throughout East and West High. Many students and teachers were disturbed by its mysterious presence.

Matt Hoffmann, interim assistant principal, thought perhaps the smell came from a sewage back-up.  “It happens every year,” said Hoffmann.  “The snow melts and the water comes back up.”

“It smelled like rotten eggs to me,” said Judy Birschbach, East biology teacher.  Recalling the scent, Birschbach guessed the smell was from a stink bomb.  “It came real quickly then went away,” she said.

In the end, it was concluded that a car battery in the Autos department created the smell.  Greg Bayer, the head custodian of the high schools, explained that a battery was overcharged.

“Some kid must have turned [the battery charger] on,” said Bayer. The timer must have broken or was improperly set. What resulted the next day was a fried car battery and, of course, a smell.

“It was a strong, acid smell,” said Bayer.

To fix the problem, the charger was disconnected, the battery was taken outside, and the smell was left to dissipate.

While Tuesday’s smell had an unusual origin and was widely noted, some students find odd odors in the high school part of daily life.

“It just smells bad in school,” said Taylor Berndt, East senior.  “It will smell like sewage randomly throughout the school all the time.”

If and when a smell does reappear, however, students are advised to hold their breath and carry on.

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