While Dutcher Middle School welcomed back students after a rainy weekend on Monday morning, the wet weather also caused the campus to inadvertently receive a number of unwanted visitors—rats.
“Early this morning, it was reported to us that there were three rats located on the exterior of the Dutcher campus. The TUSD Maintenance Department responded immediately upon hearing the news,” wrote Director of Maintenance and Operations Scott Richardson in an email Monday. “It is our opinion that the rats surfaced due to the large amounts of rain. There were no rats reported in any classrooms.”
Parent Christina Swart said she was dropping off her daughter and her daughter’s friend at DMS on Monday morning when she saw a large rat running down the outside corridor. Moments later, she noticed a crowd forming in front of the campus office, where another “huge” rat was perched atop the door frame. While she was conversing with others in the crowd, she was told that someone had seen another rat running up a nearby tree.
“It has been raining—I am aware of that,” said Swart, “but it was unusual that they were out during the day running around at a school campus where all the kids are just arriving for school. I am concerned as a parent because rats carry diseases. They have fleas. If they are getting flushed onto school campus, parents should be aware this is happening.”
While Swart said that the three rats she and others on the school campus saw on Monday morning led her to fear that there was a possible infestation on campus, BJ’s Consumer’s Choice Pest Control Assistant Manager Don Locke said that that was not the case.
“Wet, cold weather—especially what we had this weekend—definitely contributed to flushing them out and moving them around,” said Locke. “The school itself does not have an infestation. I do general pest control for the school and I know the school very well.
“This is an isolated incident given that they were seen outside. We are currently evaluating what can and can’t be done and where they’re coming from,” continued Locke.