The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 18, 2013

Concerns at Beck Elementary


Daily Item

---- — I'm writing this letter not only as a parent and a resident of Sunbury, but also a Shikellamy graduate. On Oct. 11, my son was sent home with a letter stating a pesticide application was being completed Friday evening. It is a "preventative measure to ensure the school is not providing a home for little insects." Mr. Moyer, the district's own exterminator would be spraying in specific locations.

I was curious about it and started questioning someone I know that works within the school.

This person led me to believe the situation is much worse than what the school admits to. When I asked them directly should I call someone, the answer was "yes."

So I started with the principal and I could not get in touch with her. I did however speak with two employees in the office. I was told everything was confidential. I was transferred back and forth between the Administration building and Beck Elementary with nobody answering my questions. All I wanted to know was what the school is being treated for, is the school safe and what could I do as a parent to prevent this from coming into my home.

Over the weekend I was told by other staff the school had a problem with bedbugs, fleas, mold and mice. As parents we should be informed of the situation to protect our families.

Monday morning I tried to contact the superintendent and the principal. Again, with no results, I took the next step and contacted the Department of Labor and Industry, Department of Education, The Department of Health, Department of Enviromental Protection, Ehrlich, Sunbury Code Office and the media.

Eventually I did speak with the principal and she confirmed that the school was treated for bedbugs and fleas. She also said there was mold on tiles and they replace them as needed. This information was also confirmed to me by district pest control and head of maintenance.

I still have not talked to the superintendent. I am not comfortable sending my child to school until I know the situation has been resolved. Through my research I feel the school spraying is not sufficient. I would like for an independent agency or company inspect the school. I feel that Beck has a great staff and my son loves going to school there. I do not want to transfer him but I do want answers form the district. This will effect an entire community if this issue is not taken care of properly.

I understand that homes would have to be treated as well and that can be expensive. I would like to set up fundraisers for the homes with bedbugs and fleas to off set costs. The administration, Beck Elementary, the parents and the community need to work together on this issue rather than keeping it confidential. Prevention and early detection are key in containing this infestation

Amy Ladd, Sunbury