The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 16, 2013

Shik kills bugs, but mom frets

Super: Minor problem rectified

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

SUNBURY — SUNBURY — Shikellamy took swift action Friday night to address a bug problem in Grace Beck Elementary School, but at least one district parent is concerned about what she believes is an infestation.

Amy Ladd, who has a 5-year old son at Grace Beck, said she received a letter from Principal Susan Giberson informing parents the school was going to be sprayed for bugs on Friday.

“You may notice on entrances a notice about a ‘pesticide application’ being completed Friday evening,” the letter read. “This is another preventive measure to ensure the school is not providing a home for little insects.”

Specific locations were to be treated on Friday night, the letter read.

“The notice is required by law to be posted prior to application and kept up for 48 hours after it’s been done,” the letter read. “I just wanted you to be aware as to why these signs are on the doors. I would also like to ask that every family wash coats, backpacks, etc., in hot water.”

The letter alarmed Ladd, so she began calling people who work in the school.

“They are telling me that there is a huge problem,” she said. “Then district officials are saying there is nothing to be alarmed about.”

Workers did find a “few dead bugs” in an undisclosed location of the school and decided to spray, District Superintendent Pat Kelley said.

“We sprayed certain sections of the school,” Kelley said. “We are obligated by law to do this.”

Kelley said the letter was distributed to parents and posted on school doors in compliance with the law.

“It was properly posted and we sprayed after 9 p.m. Friday night,” Kelley said. “No one was in the building until Tuesday and this building is safe.”

Kelley said he spoke with Doug Bennick, the district director of maintenance, about the problem.

“To our knowledge there is nothing to talk about,” Bennick said. “We had people go in and check this out and it is safe.”

Ladd said she also spoke with Bennick. She said she wants an outside agency to make that determine that the building is safe.

“I as well as other parents would feel a lot safer knowing someone from outside the district looked at this,” she said. “It would give us more comfort knowing that.”

Ladd also said she heard from school employees that there was mold inside the elementary school.

“That is not true,” Kelley said. “The building is safe and every student is safe inside.”

A district worker certified to eliminate pests sprayed Grace Beck school, 600 Arch St., on Friday night, Kelley said. Priestley Elementary was sprayed in September after dead bugs were found. Kelley said once a complaint is received, administrators assess the situation and, if it is deemed necessary, spray as a precautionary measure.