Bed bug outbreak causing strife between parents and Central R-III School District

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PARK HILL, MO – Parents of students at Central High School reached out in desperate concern saying that the school has not been handling a recent bed bug outbreak properly.

“That’s a big high school and those bugs are very small, and they lay eggs everywhere,” said Amy Burton, a concerned parent.

Word got out two weeks ago that bed bugs were being found in the school. Students captured pictures and videos of the bugs crawling on their backpacks, school floors, and school tablets. Parents are worried that their children may be bringing the bugs into their own homes from the school.

True outrage developed when parents felt that school officials were not being open and transparent about the issue.

“If my daughter wouldn’t have forwarded me the message I wouldn’t have known until whenever it was the superintendent sent out the statement,” said Terri McKinney, another concerned mother.

As a result, parents have been keeping their children home from school and report school administrators are refusing to excuse their absences.

“I just don’t want these kids having to suffer or we having to pay the penalty because they were wrong, and they knew they were wrong, and now they are trying to cover up their tracks,” said Burton.

District Superintendent Ashley McMillian released a statement on February 20 saying the district has taken the necessary measures to ensure a safe and clean learning environment. They have been working closely with St. Francois County Health Center and Parkland Termite. 

A statement says, in part:

“The high school has been treated nightly, over the weekend, and extremely heavy in any area where a sighting occurred. As a precaution, we are also beginning treatment on all campus buildings and on the buses, although we have not had any sightings anywhere outside the high school, including buses... I cannot and will not guarantee a bed bug will not be seen on campus… what I can guarantee is that the district will act accordingly to manage a sighting when, or if, it occurs."

While parents are still questioning the school’s honesty and action regarding the situation, administrators want to assure families in the district that they are doing everything in their power to resolve the bed bug issue and move forward. 

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