Posted in Education

Update on Campbell Bedbugs

bedbug signYesterday, Campbell Jr. High principal, Dustin Howard, made an intercom announcement that he was dispelling “rumors” about bedbugs and that there were none. It was extremely disappointing to say the least. It was a typical Elaine Farris move. She and David Bolen (GRC principal) did the exact same thing when the GRC mold issue was brought to light. It is exactly the type of behavior that this community has been adamant eradicating.

As far as I’m concerned, an announcement to “dispel rumors” is nothing more than an attempt to pacify the community, discredit me and demonstrate to staff that their opinions do not matter. My philosophy is that an active campaign to shut people up rather than actually address and consider their concerns, only accentuates that there is indeed a problem. Likely, more troublesome than we know.

Last night Paul Christy informed me of many things. Primarily, that I was wrong and posting “inaccurate statements on Facebook” and my blog. I’m not even going to address that ridiculous accusation because I feel my reputation speaks for itself. If it didn’t people would not go to significant lengths to contact me and plead for my intervention.

Regardless of the matter, Christy stated he contracted with Elite Pest Control who inspected 16 classrooms at Campbell. Of those 16 classrooms “the findings show no bedbugs, no shells, no bedbug skins and no bedbug feces”. He also assures me that once the written report is available to him he will make it available to the community. So, to those of you who submitted your concerns to me, were your classrooms inspected? Do you have documented proof of bedbugs?

Christy is firm in his belief that staff and/or students are blowing incidents out of proportion and that my blogging about the situation is “creating hysteria”.  I am of the opinion that if the board of education actually had a policy regarding bedbugs (like most counties) addressed the issue rather than search for the whistle-blowers there would be no “hysteria” to create.

Bottom line? A professional was hired to inspect the building, which was needed. School administrators are now responding to students, staff and parents voicing concern. Pictures of bite marks and the actual bedbugs go a long way. So, if you disagree with the clean bill of health of the school and the stance of Superintendent Christy that you are all over-reacting, then you need to snap a little picture of the critters as they crawl about thirsting for food.

Yet, as we all move forward from this event is it vitally important that we remember bedbugs is a COMMUNITY concern. Be vigilant. Be aggressive.  And above all be proactive and never afraid to take a stand.

Posted in Education

Bedbugs At Campbell JR High

bed-bugsRecently, I was notified that Campbell Jr. High was infested with bedbugs and the school district was doing nothing except attempting to cover it up. It took shockingly little, effort on my part to discover enough evidence to prove that there was no doubt a problem. The exact scope of the problem I am still sorting out.

Both Campbell Jr. High and Shearer Elementary have bedbugs. It is possible that George Rogers Clark High School has them as well. How many of the critters is yet to be determined. Clark County School Superintendent, Paul Christy, relayed to me his belief that perhaps people are calling something a bedbug that is not. He did agree that a single bug had been spotted and he had the room cleaned. Students and staff at the schools have different stories. They are complaining of bite marks, infestations, hitch-hiking bugs that have invaded their homes and money paid out of their personal pockets to combat a problem the school district refuses to address.

There are only 3 reasons why the district and staff and students could have such vastly different versions of events.
1. The principals at the schools are intentionally misleading the superintendent as to the severity of the problem.
2. The superintendent is trying to cover up the story and keep the public unaware so parents don’t keep students at home.
3. Staff and students are overreacting.
I’m inclined to mark off number three simply due to the number of people who have contacted me in various positions across the county.

It’s the responsibility of the principal to notify the superintendent of problems in the schools such as bedbugs. The superintendent then has a responsibility to let the public know by sending letters home to parents. That has not happened. Christy told me he wasn’t sending letters home warning parents about bedbugs because there had only been one bug. However, bite marks on multiple people, especially if those people are in separate areas of the school, would indicate the presence of more than a single bug.  bed bug hand

The district has a policy for head lice but not bedbugs, which is the crux of the problem. When there is no policy there is bound to be conflict. It is ridiculous that the district has not adopted any sort of policy pertaining to bedbugs considering how much they have been in the news. Multiple surrounding counties have the same policy for head lice, scabies and bedbugs.

Until the problem is aggressively confronted bedbugs will continue to be a problem. They are extremely difficult to get rid of once you have them and students can carry hitch-hiking bugs back and forth between school and home. To reduce the chances of the bugs infecting your home you can do the following things:

1. Use clear plastic bags inside your child’s backpack to encase personal belongings if possible.
2. Immediately, upon coming home don’t allow your child to touch any furniture or other items that will allow a bug to disembark. Place backpacks and clothing worn to school in a dryer on highest heat setting for at least 30 minutes.
3. If you pick your child up immediately place his/her backpack in a garbage bag and seal it until you arrive home. Consider plastic seat coverings in your vehicle to keep bugs from getting into the car.
4. Educate yourself and your child on the signs of bedbugs and inspect yourselves and your home on a regular basis.
4. If you see a single bug in your home assume there are more and treat your home immediately. Pesticides are the most effective way to kill them but it is expensive. Steam cleaning is a good alternative if proper procedures are followed.  bedbug sign

I want to make clear that bedbugs is a COMMUNITY problem. They can be anywhere and it is up to every citizen to be aware of the signs and actively combat them at the onset. Part of that combat should be communication. We cannot have our school officials operating as the bedbugs do, in secret. Making parents aware of the potential for bedbugs and allowing them the opportunity to protect their homes is beneficial to everyone and is the very first step in getting rid of them

In closing, I’d like to say that Dr. Kuduk allows time at board meetings for community members and staff to come before the board. If you are not getting satisfactory answers at the school level you should exercise that right. Board members serve the community. They will write policies if enough of the community voices respectful concern. Until that time, I have included links you may find helpful.

http://www.bedbugs.umn.edu/bed-bug-control-in-residences/using-steam-to-control-bed-bugs
www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-06/documents/15-green.pdf
http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publichealth/insects/bedbug.html
http://www.fcps.net/administration/departments/health-safety/health/staff
http://www.jefferson.k12.ky.us/departments/safetyenvirohouse/images/pdfs/JCPSSchoolBedbugGuide.pdf
http://www.jefferson.k12.ky.us/departments/safetyenvirohouse/images/pdfs/BedbugNotificationLetter.pdf
chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/phps/bed+bugs.htm
http://www.nkyhealth.org/Prevent-Bed-Bugs-at-Work.aspx