A California elementary school is under fire for allegedly failing to handle a rat and roach infestation problem, according to CBS Los Angeles.
Several children at Villa Park Elementary School have come home covered in rashes and bites. Robert Slagle, a parent, said his 11-year-old daughter was repeatedly bitten by mites, which live on vermin.
The father noted that his preteen daughter has come home with a mite-related rash on more than one occasion. He told the station that his daughter suffered red, itchy bites all over her back two months ago.
“I’m more scared, I’m more worried. I don’t want to come back,” Mika Slagle, his daughter, said.
Slagle’s fifth-grade class has been relocated numerous times, according to CBS Los Angeles. County officials have called the infestation extensive and have recommended that several overrun classrooms and school buildings remain closed.
The Orange County Register has reported that some classes were moved off-campus on June 5, due to the rodent and roach problem.
Parents notified the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District in May about kids coming home with bug bites. At the time, ten children and two teachers reportedly suffered bites.
Kat Roncancio said her daughter came home with bites about a month ago. She became alarmed when her daughter mentioned that she heard rats in the walls and ceilings of her school.
“I was a little taken aback,” Roncancio said. “I’ve had two other kids in Villa Park Elementary, and we’ve never been through this. I think for it being maybe their first time going through this, it’s a learning experience to maybe next time handle it better. Just more transparency with the parents.”
Vector Control spokeswoman Mary-Joy Coburn has stated that officials have confirmed that rat mites did indeed cause the many rashes. Orange Unified School District’s Superintendent Michael Christensen said the rats were likely housed in two vacant old buildings, located in the center of the campus. Recent construction near these buildings is the probable cause of the infestation, as the rats were dispersed, according to Christensen.
Students will be dismissed for the summer on Thursday. Vector Control biologist Robert Cummings said the best time to eradicate the pests is when school is out of session.
[Featured Image: CBS Los Angeles/screengrab]