Bed bug infestation hits Austin High School, but classes continue amid parents concerns

Bed Bugs Found in Austin High School

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(ABC 6 News) – An unexpected disruption has hit the halls of Austin High School early this week as the district reported a bed bug outbreak Monday afternoon. Several parents of Austin High School students kept their kids out of school Tuesday and said they’re not convinced the school is bed bug-free just yet.

“I am a parent of children in the local kindergarten and elementary schools who participated in these recent events at the high school,” said Jenna Talmadge of Austin. “It is concerning to me that high school leadership has not specified any dates on which bedbugs were detected and dealt with. It is also concerning to me that school leadership initially only relayed this information to the families of the high school students; I feel it is something that should have been shared with the entire school district and community in general right off the bat.”

Many parents kept their kids home on Tuesday, after a bed bug infestation hit Austin high school. But many parents say they didn’t hear it from the district first.

“So I actually found out from social media and then my kids messaged me,” said Denelle Kiker, a parent of two Austin High School students. “I wish they would have handled it more promptly so we could have known about that, as it is a pretty serious issue. I decided to keep our children home from school today just as precautionary.”

Kiker was one of many other parents who kept their kids out of school on Tuesday, and wondered why the district hadn’t considered remote learning as an option.

Austin Public Schools officials say that remote learning was never an option considered for Tuesday, believe the situation to be contained enough for the students to return.

Students continued to find signs of bed bugs in school on Tuesday as they sent videos to their parents. Prompting more students to leave school early.

Pest experts, like Mohammed El Damir, say bed bug infestations are easier to identify at home than lice or fleas.

“Bed bugs are not microscopic so you can easily see them by the naked eye,” El Damir said. “So when they are grown they are as big as the apple seed. If they are hungry, they are maybe not that big. But when they fully engulfed, They are probably two to three times bigger than their original size.”

And if a bed bug has been brought back from Austin high school to a student’s home, El Damir recommends multiple solutions to stop the spread.

“I recommend using professional services but the best way to deal with bed bugs is to vacuum them up. And you’re going to have to have a vacuum with heavy filter that can be contained and you’re going to have to be careful with the vacuum can afterward,” El Damir said.

We did reach out for interviews and further updates from Austin public schools multiple times. But they referred us to the statement they sent out this morning