In addition to snow days, the Department of Education should probably consider declaring "bedbug days" to clear school buildings for exterminators. In a sign that bedbugs are increasingly hungry for the freshest of human blood, the NYC school system has reportedly dealt with 1,019 bedbug cases in public schools during the 2009-10 school year, nearly double the 542 confirmed cases in the previous year. And some parents say administrators aren't doing enough to fight the parasites.
"It was at least a month that the bedbug was in the school before the classroom was sprayed," Staten Island mom Carissa Donato tells the Advance. "They make eggs and they move, they don't just stay in one spot. At the very least, shouldn't the school have my son's classroom sprayed, since I found a bedbug in my house?" Donato's 4-year-old son, who is in pre-K at PS 11, attends class in the basement, but the school only sprayed a classroom upstairs. After discovering a bedbug on her son's bed, she threw it out and hired an exterminator, ultimately spending $2,000 to make sure the bedbugs don't establish a beachhead.
A spokeswoman for the DOE says, "Every time we find a single bedbug, we are required to report it. In fact, some of these cases are literally one or two bugs. There were no instances where bedbugs were widespread in a school." See, no reason to panic! And besides, it looks like the bedbugs are cultivating a taste for New Jersey blood, so they'll probably forget all about us soon enough. Jersey City parent George Wendt (Norm?!) tells the AP his 13-year-old son "spotted the bloodsucking bugs in his classroom a couple of weeks ago and told the principal right away. His son has since been moved to another classroom." That's right, kids: The best way to solve a problem is to make the person who noticed it go away.