Flatbush Parents are Itching for Answers About a Bed Bug Infestation in Their Children's School
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
A Flatbush public school's latest rash of bedbugs
is the 31st time the school has dealt with the pesky insects in a
year, the Daily News has learned.
Officials at Public School 361 sent a letter home
to parents on Oct. 31, telling them that once again, the unwanted
crawlers had been found in a classroom - the 31st incident since
"It's terrible," said Darlene Rice, 45, whose son Jared is in
the first grade at the Newkirk Ave. school. "We've been hearing
about it for over a year. They should be exterminating the whole
The letter warned parents that bites from the
blood-sucking bugs are "initially painless" but could become
swollen and itch.
"Even though it is unlikely for bedbugs to spread
in schools, the Department of Education will conduct an inspection
and, if indicated, treatment of the area where the bug was found,"
read the note addressed to parents.
Rice said she just dealt with a rash of bedbugs at
her apartment across the street from the school and was nervous
about another unwelcome visit.
"I'm scared. I just spent so much money washing my
clothes," said Rice.
The city's anti-bedbug policy instructs school
officials to send the bugs to a lab in Long Island City for
testing. If the lab results are positive for bedbugs, then the city
is supposed to dispatch exterminators to treat the trouble
"The school has been inspected eight times and
there have never been signs of infestation," said city Education
Department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg. "Every time we find a
single bedbug, we are required to report it. Schools are not
hospitable environments for bedbugs and are brought in from the
outside, usually in a bag or on clothing."
Parents said they were not taking any chances.
"I'm getting my apartment exterminated - I am not
playing," said Shavonne Wingate, 24, whose daughter,
Michelle, is in the first grade.
Adriane Hobbs, 41 whose son Jalen Perez is in the first grade, said she
can't stand roaches - let alone bedbugs.
"I think it's nasty - I don't like bugs," Hobbs
"If there's one, then they're all over the
building," said Hobbs.
Paris World, 31, from Crown Heights, said she makes
her first grade daughter Jadaya take her clothes off at the front
door before she walks into their apartment.
"Bedbugs are not roaches," said World. "If you see
one you know there's a whole bunch somewhere else."