You and the Law: Father bugged by school’s handling of son’s bed bug issue

Related imageby Dennis Beaver | December 6, 2019

It might be cute to hear a three-year old sing, “As snug as a bug in a rug,” but there’s nothing cute at all about having your home infested with bed bugs. But that’s what “Rudy” and his family dealt with in July, 2019 when their home became bed bug central.

“A pest control service got the infestation under control, but it was an expensive nightmare,” he explained during our telephone conversation. He had been on the phone to a number of attorneys wanting someone to file suit against the school district for the way a teacher and administrators dealt with his nine year old son who showed up at school with a bed bug on his jacket, the morning of October 8th.

After an absence of about 40 years, bed bugs have made a stunning worldwide return, and while it is rare for schools to become infested, still, in many parts of the country, finding even one bed bug on a student is considered as a public health emergency. All schools that receive federal funds must have extensive “What to do if” contingency plans in effect.

Taken to the Nurse’s Office

“From what my son, David, explained, as he walked into his classroom by the teacher, she spotted a bed bug on his jacket and immediately walked with him to the nurse’s office. While there, his jacket was removed, they lifted his shirt, examined his back and legs for evidence of bites or bugs themselves, but found none. Then, he was brought back to his classroom.”

You are probably thinking, “Thank goodness! That’s what they should have done! Why is the boy’s father upset?” That’s what I thought as well, and asked to speak with his son who also confirmed that everyone was nice to him.

“They all knew that we had bedbugs because I told my friends about the problem at home. It was really exciting!” this very polite, well-spoken nine year-old happily explained.

I Am going to Post the School’s Illegal Behavior!

However dad was furious, threatening to post what he felt was illegal conduct by all the people involved with David and the bed bug. But why? As the boy wasn’t harmed in the least, what had they done that was so wrong?

“They legally had the obligation of calling me first for permission to remove David’s coat or examine him! That’s what! I want a lawyer to sue them, and I’m going to post this on Facebook and other social media sites, listing all the names of those people.”

Well, not so fast, Rudy. In researching his school’s policy for dealing with bedbug issues, while it is required for a parent to be notified at some time, procedure calls for just what happened. They did the right thing. It is a public health concern where time is critical – so these little vampires don’t go looking for a human blood bank.

I asked Rudy if he thought about the consequences of posting what would amount to defamatory statements about these people. “What do you mean, consequences? Like getting them fired?”

“No,” I replied, “like getting yourself sued, creating a problem for your son down the road, and as such a suit would most likely be thrown out of court, still your names would remain out there forever, seen as troublemakers. Want to guess what I am thinking of?”

He had no idea.

Think Over Carefully Before Posting Anything Negative Online

I ran this all too common fact situation by two of our consultants for their evaluations:

–San Francisco-based attorney Richard Lutkus who is among a handful of lawyers in the country whose law practice concentrates on “cyber-security preparedness, data breach response, and data privacy.”

–California licensed private investigators, Riley and Jane Parker, who are the founders of Pre-Employment Profiles, LLC, a service for employers who need to vet would-be applicants.

“By posting false remarks online you are open to being sued for defamation, so assume that you cannot delete them ever. It is out there. Understand that whatever your write can be developed into a profile of who you are,” Lutkus points out, adding, “Just ask yourself–better yet, ask a friend–before posting something when you are angry–especially if it could be false–‘How could this come back and harm me?”

Both Riley and Jane Parker want Rudy to stop and ask, “By posting defamatory comments, or, if you find a lawyer who sues the school, just count on a background search that will have you and your son labeled as trouble. This will impact an employer’s decision to hire you, and could adversely affect your son’s future.”

Experts Warn of Bed Bug Encounters Ahead of Busy Travel Season

travel.jpgFAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 29, 2019

The National Pest Management Association shares tips to avoid contact with hitchhiking pests during Bed Bug Awareness week.

As the busy travel season commences and families finalize their vacation plans for summer, experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are warning vacationers to remain vigilant during Bed Bug Awareness Week, this June 2-8. An annual observance recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events, Bed Bug Awareness Week serves as an important reminder that bed bugs can wreak havoc if brought home after traveling, making prevention key to staving off an infestation.

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests, and according to NPMA’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey, 97 percent of U.S. pest control professionals surveyed reported they treated for bed bugs in 2018, with 68 percent saying they treated hotels specifically. A recent online research study conducted between January 2018 and May 2019 by Advanced Symbolics Inc. using a representative sample of 274,500 Americans revealed a 9 percent increase in people reporting bed bugs from just April to May, 2019, and a 21 percent increase in concerns regarding bed bugs as a potential health and home threat during that same time period.

“Bed bugs can be found anywhere, whether it be a 5-star hotel or a summer camp,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “These pests do not discriminate, and many people usually transport bed bugs with them back to their homes without even knowing they’re doing so. To prevent these freeloaders from hitchhiking back home with your family, it is important to take proper precautions when traveling this summer.”

To help vacationers avoid bringing home any hitchhiking pests this travel season, the NPMA is sharing the following prevention tips:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back hotel sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms/establishments immediately.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with visual inspections.
  • Vacuum and properly inspect suitcases after returning from a vacation. Do not bring the suitcase into your home until it has been inspected.
  • If you think you may have brought bed bugs home with you, seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation, as this is not a do-it-yourself pest.

For more information about how to prevent bed bugs visit PestWorld.org.

Bed bug incident reported at Ansonia Middle School

Ansonia_Middle
ANSONIA, Conn. (WTNH) – June 4, 2019 — There is a bed bug outbreak at a middle school in Ansonia.

A parent contacted News 8 after a recording about the bed bug outbreak was sent out to the school community by the Ansonia Middle School principal on Monday.

The recording advises parents that a letter will be going home with students about a recent incident involving a single insect that was found in one of the exam room’s in the school nurse’s office.

The insect was removed and after an analysis from state officials, it was determined that the insect was common bed bug.

To ensure that the school is free of any bed bugs, an inspection will be conducted by a pest control specialist, as well as a follow up treatment to effective areas.

A letter from Dr. Carol Merlone, Ansonia Superintendent of Schools, reads:

A single bed bug was found in Ansonia Middle School on Monday, June 3, and a licensed pest control specialist determined today, June 4, that there isn’t any evidence that there are any other bed bugs in the school.

“A letter was sent home with Ansonia Middle School students, notifying parents and guardians about this isolated incident,” Dr. Carol Merlone, Superintendent of Schools, reported this afternoon. She said the school nurse found an insect in one of the exam rooms in her office, and the insect was removed from the exam room and immediately sent for analysis to the Department of Entomology at the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station in New Haven.  It was determined that the insect was a “common” bed bug, Dr. Merlone said. She added that the Valley Health Department was also notified.

The parent letter provided information about bed bugs, including that they do not carry diseases but are a nuisance; that they cannot survive out of their own environment; and that schools are not likely to have a major infestation but rather may have a few bugs which are carried by students or adults. Anyone with additional questions about bed bugs may call the Naugatuck Valley Health District at (203) 881-3255.

“We are working with the student and the family,” Dr. Merlone said, adding that the licensed pest control specialist will return to ensure that the school remains free of bed bugs.

The final day of the school year is this Friday, June 7.

Corpus Christi ISD fumigating bus after bed bug report

KRIS_WebHeader2018-Wade-Capps

May 15, 2019  Veronica Flores

We contacted CCISD Office of Communications Director Leanne Libby said on May 6, one bed bug was found on a student’s backpack at an elementary school. Libby said no additional bed bugs were found.

CCISDbedbug1.jpgIn a statement today, CCISD said.

“In addition to notifying the county health department, the district notified parents and staff in the classroom where the single bug was found. As a precautionary measure, one school bus as well as one classroom received pest-control treatment.”

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