After floodwaters fill Waverly schools, residents demand change to prevent future tragedy

Posted at 10:34 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 23:34:07-04

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Flooding has been an issue at Waverly schools for years. Now after Saturday’s deadly floods, parents say they’ve had enough.

"I don't really like that it's all washed out," said Waverly Elementary School student Madden Sanders outside his school.

"It is really sad to me since I've been going since pre-K," added another student, Paicen Staggs. Her brother Brantly said, "we should, like, move our schools up to the fairgrounds because there's lots of room up there and it would be less dangerous."

Their classrooms are now turned upside down. Water lines from the flood reach as tall as the door frames.

"I have three children that go here and if it would have been a day during school hours then I wouldn't have any of my children," said Waverly resident and father, Justin Curtis.

Now a petition with nearly two-thousand names is calling for the relocation of Waverly Elementary and Junior High schools.

"The creek is just on the other side of the smallest children in the school, the pre-K," said Terri Pirtle who started the petition. Her daughters attend Waverly Elementary. "The thought of my children being here, I can't describe it."

But after three floods in eleven years, it seems this close call is finally creating change.

"I want an alternate place for these students to go instead of here," said Humphreys County Director of Schools, Richard Rye.

Director of Schools Richard Rye said discussions are underway with state leaders to demolish and find a new home for the schools.

"We've got to keep our kids safe," said Rye. "That's my number one goal and that's what we're working towards."

Now as Waverly rebuilds, leaders are learning their own lessons to prevent history from repeating itself.

Superintendent Rye said when students do return to school they will use portables as classrooms while a new plan is devised.