Parents - Bed Bugs Surface At School

WLKY-TV (Louisville, KY)
Friday, November 4, 2011

LOUISVILLE, KY - Concerned parents of Iroquois High School students said bedbugs surfaced earlier this week in class.

But Jefferson County Public Schools officials said it was never confirmed.

Multiple parents turned to Facebook to voice their opinions about the bedbug situation. Some even contacted WLKY News directly.

According to a statement from JCPS, a teacher found something she thought was a bedbug Monday.

The Iroquois students were moved and the room was inspected immediately. JCPS said nothing was found.

"Initially what we ask the principal, the teacher to do is to get the live bedbug with a piece of tape," said Chuck Fleischer with JCPS environmental safety.

On Tuesday, a squashed bug was found in a different Iroquois classroom.

Teachers couldn't identify the bug, but to be safe, JCPS said a second check was done. Again, no problem was found.

"Bedbugs do not want to be at school. They're like our kids. They want to be at home in the bed," said Fleischer.

The Jefferson County Health Department said that's because bedbugs feed at night.

Since April 2010, Fleischer said JCPS have had around two dozen cases where bed bugs were found at their schools.

Of those cases, inspectors found additional bugs in the room in question only six times. In each of those times it was only one more bug.

"We are finding them, but they're very sporadic and usually a loner," said Fleischer.

No bedbugs were found at Iroquois High School this week.

The parents who initially contacted WLKY News did not return phone calls Friday.

Fleischer described how JCPS initially gets rid of the pests.

"Mainly, we vacuum, and then we'll use steam. Steam clean the carpet or upholstery, whatever the case may be," said Fleischer.

Fleischer said officials haven't had to yet, but JCPS would treat the area more aggressively if it needs to.

He said all the paranoia about these insects may be thanks to a classic saying many hear as a child.

"Night night, don't let the bed bugs bite," said Fleischer.

The Jefferson County Health Department said bedbugs are typically site specific, and it's very unlikely a student would carry them home.

Both the Health Department and JCPS officials said bedbugs found in school typically come from a student's home.

The Health Department said the bugs aren't likely to multiply very quickly at school.