Illegal dumping frustrates Holliday Montessori students

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some students thought they were making a difference when they picked up trash around their school. But when more garbage appeared the next day, they realized this change will not happen easily.

Illegal dumping is a big problem in many neighborhoods across Kansas City. And students at Holliday Montessori, near Gregory Boulevard and Jackson Avenue, have a front row seat to the television sets, plastic trash bags and other debris that's dumped here on a daily basis.

"We want our bridge to be clean and not dirty so people won't say that we have a dirty neighborhood," said Jacey Toney, a fourth grader. "Trash goes off the bridge and into the lake."

At least twice a week, a group of students comes outside to pick up bottles, cans and other garbage on the bridge next to their school.

They have set up trash cans and spread the word throughout the school that littering won't be tolerated, but still more ugly waste shows up.

That's why they've written the mayor asking for a sign to be posted informing neighbors not to throw out their trash, students are keeping this area clean.

"If the mayor sees this he might give us the sign," said D'Ereka Hardin, a fifth grader. "So the school and trash won’t be as bad if we have a sign. People will see like, 'Hey don’t throw out trash.'"

Students say it makes their school feel trashy when people use it as a dumping ground.

Teachers say the effort has proven to be a valuable learning experience on problem solving, teamwork and there's even a civics lesson here about getting your elected leaders involved.

The mayor's office has not yet responded to the kids' requests, but that happens to the media all the time. They are learning to be persistent.

The students' efforts are being recognized within the school district.

The Kansas City School Board honored the children Wednesday by naming them Scholar Superstars for their ongoing campaign.