Bed bug ridding chemicals contaminate school

October 26, 2010 8:18:55 PM PDT
An exterminator hired to kill bed bugs at a New York City elementary school has left behind a big mess.

The cost to decontaminate what was contaminated is estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of the $100,000 already paid for the extermination.

Parents picking up their kids at P.S. 197 in Midwood, Brooklyn have recently not been sure that bed bugs won't be going home with them.

"My wife went to a parents teacher meeting and she said that they said that there is bed bugs, that they have a problem there," said Dennis Mitchell, a parent.

But, the effort to get rid of the little creatures has created bigger problems.

"Exterminating fluid was found in the rooms, on the teachers' desks, on the children's desks, on their books, on the floor, and it had an odor to it," said Lucille Mauro, a teacher.

Eyewitness News' cameras were not allowed inside the building, but a teacher provided a photo of one of five classrooms that were soaked with a liquid bed bug killing chemical.

"Who ever exterminated it was negligently exterminating the room and all the materials that I have are now in the garbage," said Ellie Salman, a teacher.

The Department of Education hired a private contractor, listed on its website as Joe's Extermination Company.

They paid just under $100,000 for the services.

Research by the Teacher's Union estimates the classroom cleanup will cost well over twice that amount.

"This is the neighborhood of a quarter of a million dollars, money that could have been used in the classrooms," said Alan Abrams, the Teacher's Union leader.

The DOE says it plans to bill the contractor and prevent his company from doing business with the city.

That company has not returned Eyewitness News phone calls.

"We don't know what everyone was exposed to, so it's unnerving," said Denise Richford, a teacher.

The substance used is being tested, but teachers will not know the results for two weeks.

They are now more concerned that the materials they lost will not be replaced for the rest of this school year.