Bat infestation at elementary school

Workers are using black mesh to help seal off areas where bats are gaining access to the school

February 23, 2010 5:37:44 PM PST
Dozens of tiny little creatures have made a local elementary school their home. They're Mexican free-tailed bats and they've been spotted all over Seabrook's Bay Elementary. But getting rid of these bats is not easy. Bay Elementary School has a bat problem. A colony of Mexican free-tailed bats has infested the school.

"There have been bats flying in the hallways, library, found on the floor," said parent Meri Dix.

That has parents like Dix concerned. She kept her son home today. Several parents tell Eyewitness News they are doing the same, at least for now.

Forty-four students were absent from school today and some parents tell us they plan to keep their kids at home until the school is bat-free.

Parent Angela Dautreuil said, "They're flying, they're swooping. I'm just afraid. I don't want her to be the statistic of getting scratched or bitten."

Today four bats were captured. Yesterday 11 were caught. School officials say in all around 50 bats have been caught and released by a private contractor.

Bats have been found at this school in the past, but district officials say this infestation is much larger and it could take three weeks to get rid of it.

Clear Creek ISD Spokesperson Elaina Polsen said, "What we do not know is how many bats still remain."

The bats are protected by law, so the school has put up webbing, sealed up openings and used a disinfectant to keep the bats away. They are also telling kids not to touch any bats they may encounter. They've even closed a cafeteria and a gym at the school. Lunch has to be brought in from another school.

The district does not plan to close the school for now. Some parents say that's the right decision.

"I feel like they're watching out for the kids and making sure nothing's going to happen to them," said parent Matt Miglin.

Polsen said, "We've taken prompt action to remove the bats and to keep children safe."

The state department of health services approves of the measures the school has taken so far, but the cold weather is making the bats stick around. That could cause even more absences in the days to come.