CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – A bed bug scare has some parents at a Southeast Side elementary school angry and demanding answers. When school let out Monday at O’Keefe Elementary, some of them were just finding out about it for the first time.
“I’m upset because I knew nothing about this. This is my first time hearing it. If this happened Friday, I should have been notified,” said Quintana Jones, whose son is in third grade at O’Keefe.
On Friday, the school sent home letters to some parents in one 3rd grade classroom alerting them to a possible bed bug problem. Two children from that class were sent home after the school nurse found bites on their arms. That room was specially cleaned over the weekend.
“We pulled all of the carpet out of the classroom. We had everything treated and inspected. There should not be an issue at the school,” said Dr. Jasmine Bankhead, the school principal.
But for some parents, cleaning just one room didn’t seem adequate.
“But what about the rest of the building? The kids are changing classes for gym, art, music, lunch, breakfast. They’re not just confined to that one classroom,” said Melanie Busch, whose twin sons are in the classroom with the possible bed bug problem. “The whole school needs to be exterminated and exterminated properly for bed bugs.”
The concern is that if the kids weren’t confined to one room, then maybe the bugs weren’t either.
“I told my kids when they come to school, make sure you shake stuff out before you come home,” said Alberta Craig, who runs a day care, and whose grandchildren are in the impacted classroom.
Some parents felt the school was trying to hide the problem, but the principal assured them that was not the case.
“I’m very concerned. That’s why we’re actively working to make certain to identify if there is an issue. We were trying to be proactive, but we don’t want to over react,” said Dr. Bankhead. “We don’t have a confirmed case of bed bugs.”
Dr. Bankhead said if bed bugs are confirmed at the school, she will notify all the parents.