Concern grows after bedbugs found at Chaparral Junior/Senior HS

Bedbugs in a Harper County school have several students and parents concerned.
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:55 PM CST
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HARPER COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - Bedbugs in a Harper County school have several students and parents concerned. Parents at Chaparral Junior/Senior High School say the school isn’t doing enough to address the problem. The school says it’s taking all of the correct measures.

Chaparral parent Alec Walker said she found out about the problem from her son, not the school.

‘Hey mom, I’m not supposed to tell you, but there’s bedbugs at school and they were throwing away furniture,’” Walker quoted her son. “And I was like, ‘you’re not supposed to tell me?’ And I had several other students tell me as well.”

When the school found out about a possible infestation, some parents say there wasn’t enough information relayed to warn them about the problem.

“With them being so quiet about it, parents don’t know (if) they’re supposed to be looking for anything, so they’re just gonna spread through houses as well as schools and it’s just gonna keep going on,” Walker said.

Students like Jozif Walker say there’s a growing concern among his classmates and his school should be doing more to make sure the pests are gone.

“I personally think they should cancel school for a couple days and get it actually situated,” Jozif Walker said. “Get it fumigated, whatever you need to do to actually kill the bugs and solve the problem.”

The CDC says bedbugs feed on the blood of people and animals while they sleep and their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions. Depending on the person, you may not even see a bite mark and some people may suffer an allergic reaction. But, in general, bedbugs aren’t considered to be dangerous.

Chaparral Junior/Senior High School does confirm the bedbugs were found at the school.

“There are two confirmed locations that we know of that happened two days ago,” Chaparral Schools Superintendent Josh Swartz said on Friday.

Swartz said the school is doing everything it can to address the problem.

“We had a pest control agency come in and control those areas and monitor for that next day. Two bugs were found that were no longer alive then after we sprayed additional classrooms that were outside the realm to double check to make sure nothing else was found, and as of late [Friday] afternoon, as we walked into the building, no other evidence of bedbugs were in the building, as of late [Friday],” he said.

The school said it understands the frustration students and parents are expressing, but Swartz said he and his staff are working to minimize the community impact.

“We acknowledge the frustration that’s taken place with this situation,’ Swartz said. “Bedbugs are scary and anyone that has experienced that, it’s a significant impact to a family. We understand the concerns, but at the same time, we are vigilant with our building and grounds department to make sure there is a plan in place to make sure no one else is impacted by this.”