Trenton school officials on a bedbug hunt

TRENTON, N.J. - November 17, 2011

Parents of students at Stokes Elementary on Parkside Ave. in Trenton are on bedbug alert after several of the critters were found inside the school twice in the last week.

Bocary Bandeh, the school's acting principal, told Action News, "A child came and opened his bag and some bedbugs came out of it."

School officials say it's not an infestation, just a few isolated bedbugs have been seen. But, finding them means that the children suspected of unwittingly carrying them to school from home are being checked. "We go through booksbags, coat pockets and maybe the lunchbox," said Ray Broach, the superintendent of schools, "wherever these insects may try to hide."

Health inspectors are checking the homes of at least 2 children who may have brought the bugs to school. One of their backpacks is being kept out of the classroom in a hallway. Both kids live in the same apartment building and a teacher told Action News that one has bites all over his arms.

Parents like Rhonda Minney are concerned.

"I'm just scared. We don't want them in our house becasue once you get one on your clothing and they get into the house and they make more and then they get all over the place," Minney said.

Once the bedbugs were found -- in both a classroom and the library -- areas nearby were swabbed with alcohol as per state policy. In addition to the cleaning, after school on Friday the building will be shut down and a private exterminating company will come in to treat for bedbugs.

"We don't want them in our homes," Broach said, "and we certainly don't want them in our schools."

The superintendent says if health inspectors find bedbug infestations at the students' homes, arrangements will be made to have the premises exterminated. The district has the right to keep those children out of class until the problem is solved.

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