Westchester County middle school dealing with rat infestation

THORNWOOD (WABC) -- A school in Westchester County is dealing with a rat problem, and it's not the first time there has been such an infestation.

Students at Westlake Middle School in Thornwood say they spotted rats in the school this week, two years after the campus had to deal with the rodents.

"Even one rat is one rat too many," Mount Pleasant Schools Superintendent Susan Guiney said.

And she's pulling no punches when it comes to the unwanted visitors after two rats were spotted in the building this week. On Tuesday, one rat was captured in a hallway and won't be seen or heard from again. But a short time later, during a lunch period, another rat was seen in the cafeteria. Much to the dismay of students and staffers, the creepy critter got away.

"The third lunch period was held in a separate location, which allowed us to sanitize and clean the area and ensure that everything was safe," Guiney said.

The school sits on a sprawling campus it shares with a high school, but the middle school building backs directly to a wooded area. And that is where it's believed the rats are coming from.

"We're looking at around, making sure there isn't any food left out," Guiney said. "Anything that we do have in the building, we are making sure that it's contained in a metal container. We're looking at holes and ways of entry into the building from the outside."

The health department inspected the school on Wednesday and found no signs of an infestation. State regulations prohibit the school from fumigating the building, but several bait traps have been set up outside and inside the school.
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