COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Parents of some students at Pelion Elementary School in Lexington School District One received a letter after the first day of class saying a bedbug had been found in the classroom.
Many parents said they are frustrated and concerned by the bedbug protocol in the district. Many of the parents said this isn’t the first time they have gotten a letter that their child’s class has bedbugs.
“On the first day of school I receive a letter, on the very first day, and we have an entire school year to go,” Linzi Walling, a parent at Pelion Elementary, said.
Walling said last year her daughter’s class had bedbugs four times.
“I was in shock, disbelief, I was livid,” Walling said.
Walling, whose daughter is allergic to bedbugs, said the school needs to have a better policy for the pests.
“The child needs to be sent home and until they have proof that the house has been treated, they should not be allowed to come back, and they need to treat the schools,” Walling said.
Bedbugs are not on the South Carolina DHEC Exclusion List, which means that students with bedbugs do not have to go home from school.
Elisa Lucas, another parent, said she also wants the school to have a stricter policy.
“My biggest concern is the cost of treatment, and why kids are allowed to come back to school," Lucas said. "Schools aren’t treated. There is no policy as far as District One concerning bedbugs.”
Lexington One’s Chief Student Services Officer responded to Lucas’s concerns, saying in an email that the school is researching the protocols in other districts to see if changes need to be made to the district’s protocol on bedbugs.
In a letter to parents, Principal Debbie Pool said each day the school bags up student’s book bags and other personal items in the affected classrooms. District officials said the school nurse counsels parents on checking their home for bedbugs.
“I send my kids to school every day with the expectation that they are in a clean, safe, healthy environment with no outside distractions and I would say bedbugs is a big outside distraction,” Lucas said.
For many parents, their main concern is the cost if their child brings home a bedbug. Homeadvisor reports that the average bedbug extermination cost is between $1,000 and $2,500.
Lucas says she would like to see a similar policy for bedbugs as the policy for lice. Head lice are included in South Carolina DHEC’s Exclusion List which means the student must stay home from school until no live, crawling lice are present.