School districts are not required to report bed bugs

By: Carley Gordon

“They could be anywhere,” said a Maury county mother who didn’t want to share her identity, but did want to tell people about what teachers found inside her daughter’s Highland Park Elementary classroom.

“Those bed bugs spread like 100 feet over night,” said the parent.

Students’ parents received a letter on Thursday, now the mother News4 spoke to is concerned about where the bed bugs are spreading and what the district is spraying to get rid of them, especially since her daughter is special needs.

“We have a $5,000 bed in there that we can’t just throw out. We have a $1,500 wheel chair that we can’t just throw out. This is my child’s health, her needs, all that’s involved,” said the mother.

So has this happened in your child’s school and how many times?

It turns out, the state doesn’t keep track.

Districts aren’t required to report bed bug cases and there are no state rules on how districts should respond.

Instead, districts make their own policies

For example, in Rutherford County, a spokesperson said bed bugs have become more common recently and their responses depend on the case.

Typically, they said they isolate and bag the affected student’s belongings and talk with that student’s parents about treating their home.

They also notify the other parents and use an exterminator when necessary.

At Highland Park in Maury County, this marks the second bed bug case in two years.

A spokesperson for the district said they have a pest control expert scheduled and are vacuuming daily.

“I just feel like, bed bugs, they could remove them kids from that classroom and clear out that whole room until you get rid of them all,” said the concerned mother.

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