Editor’s Note: SOURCE file photo of a mouse used for lead art. The report was last updated with the district’s policy.
FRAMINGHAM – A first grade teacher at Dunning Elementary Schools wants the Framingham Public Schools to address the mice and cockroach problems at Framingham Public Schools.
“I am speaking to you tonight about furry little friends that grace us with their presence daily, and often multiple times per day. They are small and furry and cute and make great pets! However, they do not belong in our classrooms, hallways, bathrooms, teachers rooms, or anywhere else in our school buildings. I am talking about mice,” said first grade teacher Sarah McKeon at last night’s School Committee meeting.
“At Dunning, it has been a serious issue for about a year and a half. Not a day goes by without hearing a scream from a staff member or students because a little furry friend has scurried in front of them. Students have come running out of the girls bathroom when they saw one in there. One was snooping around the teachers room in search of a snack. They have run across rooms in the middle of learning, and in one case, even in my room while having a parent conference last year. Just 2 weeks ago during a grade level planning meeting, one ran across the floor and under a teacher’s feet as she was projecting her screen from her desk. And these are just some stories,” said the Dunning first grade teacher at the February 15 School Committee meeting.
“This is also not just a Dunning issue. Mice have appeared in nearly every school, and in some cases, cockroaches have joined them,” said McKeon last night.
“I am asking district leaders to come up with a better plan to combat this serious issue. For over a year and a half, we have been advised to notify our custodians and building leaders when we see critters, and we have been doing that. But clearly, more needs to be done. This is a very serious health concern, and it needs to be rectified immediately. The school buildings are the students’ learning environment, and our teaching environment, and this is unacceptable. We hear that certain fumigations are not allowed due to chemicals, but there must be something else that can be done. And it needs to be done as soon as possible. This has gone on long enough,” said McKeon.
“Our custodians have worked tirelessly to help with this issue. Shout out to all custodians throughout the district!! They have provided multiple traps, swept and mopped areas, and suggested different things to try. This is in no way a criticism of them, or of our building leaders; we know they have been doing their best to deal with this issue. But it is time for our district leaders to do more. This cannot go on. It is unsanitary, unhealthy, and even frightening for some kids and staff,” said Mckeon “Not to mention, the kids should not be seeing deceased mice or mouse limbs on the traps. That is horrible. Not to mention, there are staff whose students have PICA and try to eat things off the floor. Just imagine if they happened to ingest mouse droppings. This is a very concerning reality for many classrooms, and as a result, teachers are often buying their own supplies to clean and attempt to minimize visits from the furry invaders.”
“With regard to the pest management I will have to certainly speak with buildings and grounds, but I can assure you that the district would be as concerned as the school building level staff about rodents and things in schools often that come with food and as events happen and people have food in classrooms and things that can be part of that,” said Superintendent Bob Tremblay last night after McKeon spoke.
“We do have a district-wide integrated pest management system and there are rules and restrictions around what you can and can’t do in terms of pesticide treatment and like you do in your home and how that’s managed,” said Supt. Tremblay.
The School Committee has a policy on pest management.
“The Framingham Public Schools are committed to providing a safe and properly maintained environment for all staff, students and visitors. To achieve this end, the School District will implement integrated pest management procedures for its buildings and grounds. The integrated pest management procedures shall include implementation of appropriate prevention and control strategies, notification of certain pesticide and herbicide uses, record keeping, education and evaluation. Integrated pest management procedures will determine when to control pests and what method of control to choose. Strategies for managing pest populations will be influenced by the pest species, location and whether and at what population level its presence poses a threat to people, property or the environment. The full range of action alternatives, including no action, will always be considered,” noted the policy.
“An integrated pest management program is a pest control approach that emphasizes using a balanced combination of tactics (cultural, mechanical, biological, chemical) to reduce pests to a tolerable level while using pesticides and herbicides as a last resort to minimize health, environmental and economic risks. Pesticides and herbicides will be used only as a last resort, based on a review of all other available options,” noted the policy.
“When pesticides or herbicides are used, they must be classified as an EPA Category III or IV. Application of any pesticide or herbicide may be performed only by certified applicators. Application of pesticides and herbicides may only be accomplished when the building will be clear of students and staff during the application and for at least 48 hours after the application is complete except for mandatory security procedures,” noted the SC Policy.
“When pesticides or herbicides are used outdoors, notice of their use will be provided to parents/guardians, staff and students and will also be posted in a common area,” said the policy.
“When pesticides and herbicides are used in a building, the site will provide a 48-hour pre-notification in the form of posting the product name, purpose, application date, time and method and the Material Safety Data Sheet on all entrance doors. A contact person will also be listed,” said the policy.
“In the event of an EPA registered pesticide or herbicide application in or around a building site during the school year or summer session, a notice (including the product name, purpose, contact person, and application date, time and method), will be sent home in writing with students in the affected building at least 5 days prior to application,” noted the policy.