ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. — The FOCUS Investigative team has been combing through more than 500 pages of health inspection records detailing food violations and facility issues at schools around Kentucky and Indiana.
This time, we're taking a look at Hardin County. Bryan Carroll, the environmental director with the Lincoln Trail District Health Department, said a score above 85, without any critical violations, is considered a passing grade in the state.
"Now, it can be a 96 and have a critical violation and that would be a fail," Carroll said.
Here's a look at some of the lowest scores recorded in Hardin County over the past three years - and why the schools received those scores.
Central Hardin High School
Central Hardin High School had a series of low scores in 2019. Health inspectors made multiple visits during that year and gave the school an 80, a 90, and eventually a 92.
In 2020, the school's score sunk back down to 89.
According to inspection records, points were lost for debris in the showers and locker rooms. Inspectors noticed ceiling tiles with water stains from previous leaks and also spotted rodent feces in the Home Economics classroom.
"That is a critical violation if we do find that. They have to provide proof of receipt that a licensed exterminator did come there," Carroll said.
On a food inspection, the high school scored a 93 in 2019. Inspectors noted ice buildup in the freezer, ceilings in poor repair, and the dishwasher not getting hot enough.
Valley View Education Center
The Valley View Education Center scored an 88 in 2020.
Inspectors found an unlabeled chemical bottle and noticed issues with an exit door latch not securing. Points were also taken away for carpeting and ceiling tiles being in disrepair.
The school scored a 96 in 2021, but inspectors noted carpets were in disrepair and found a damaged chair and table in the computer room.
"As long as you see progress and they are working to fix these issues, that's what we really look for," Carroll said.
East Hardin Middle School
East Hardin Middle School scored an 88 in 2020.
Issues noted in the inspection report included leaking ceilings, and window locks needing to be replaced. Water in the bathroom sinks not running long enough was another issue.
Inspectors also brought attention to a fire extinguisher with its needle in red, not green, which requires attention from the fire marshalls.
"It's a safety hazard. We want to make sure in case there was an incident there that there's an adequate fire extinguisher to handle the situation," Carrol explained.
How to follow up on the latest inspections
Inspectors usually visit schools more than once a year.
For the latest inspection at your child's school, contact your local health department and request a copy of the inspection report.
Our FOCUS team has been digging through reports from counties across Kentuckiana.
Here are some links to other counties we've covered: