Lakewood – Specially trained dogs are being used tonight to sniff out bedbugs at Oak Street Elementary School, where officials have been alerted to a report of the pests, said Carl Fink, president of the Board of Education.
Two dogs, trained to detect the presence of bedbugs, will start the search. The search will be followed by a process that will eradicate the pests, Fink said.
“I am not certain at this time if the pest management cost for bedbugs is part of the contract that we have for all the schools,” he said. “We will do everything necessary. The safety of the children is paramount.”
Lionel Smith, 49, has two children who attend the Oak Street School and one child came home from school today with what appeared to be bites on her arm, he said.
“My daughter came home and showed me her arm where she had been bitten,” Smith said. “I called about six neighbors and they all said they heard there were bedbugs in the school.”
After speaking with a neighbor, Smith said he learned another child in the neighborhood experienced similar bites at school.
As a precaution, Smith said his daughter’s clothes and backpack have been left outside in a bag to make certain the pests do not get into his home. He said his children told him they were moved to another classroom away from where the bedbugs were reported.
Fink said the district took quick action after learning of the situation and parents will be properly notified.
The Ocean County Health Department offers information about bedbugs for people who are concerned about possible infestation. Bedbugs do not transmit diseases to people but can trigger asthma in some people. They cannot fly or jump, but can run fast. They are large enough to be seen and can be transported in personal belongings, according to health officials.
Fink said he expects the Oak Street School to be back to normal by Friday morning . All precautions are being taken to protect the children, he said.
In November 2011, bedbugs were found in Lakewood High School’s library. Health officials gave school administrators clearance to reopen the school library the next day after it was treated.
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