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Philadelphia Councilwoman Pushes For More Public School Water Fountains

by Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Some Philadelphia public school students are thirsty for knowledge. And some are just thirsty. Councilwoman Helen Gym says there are too many broken water fountains in schools, and this week, she proposed legislation to fix the problem.

Councilwoman Gym says she heard from so many students that they had no easy access to drinking water during the school day, it amounts to a human rights violation.

"They frequently feel dehydrated. They have to pay $1.50 for water from vending machines and this has become a very serious issue for many of them," she said.

Gym's bill would require the school district simply to live up to the plumbing code-- one working water fountain per 100 students and one on each floor.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard says that's always the district's goal but maintenance is an issue.

"We could be in full compliance one day and not in compliance the next day. These water fountains, unfortunately, go in and out of service," he said.

Gallard says sometimes it's student vandalism that puts them out of service.

A district survey that Gym requested showed 85% of the district's water fountains are working but Gallard says there were errors and the survey will have to be redone.

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