|Updated: 2/27/2012 10:18 am
||Published: 2/26/2012 4:41 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The bats are gone from Bale Elementary School.
The Little Rock School District called off school Friday while maintenance workers smoke the bats out. Class will resume as normal Monday morning.
School district spokesperson, Tiffany Hoffman, wants to assure parents the problem has been taken care of, and the there is nothing more to worry about. "Animals can get into a school just like they can get into your house, and there are pest control people who are hired to take care of that."
Hoffman says maintenance crews smoked 30 bats from the building Friday night believed to have flown in recently while crews worked with the doors and windows open.
Crews chased them back out into the neighborhood, much to the surprise of Jean Van Pelt, who lives just a few doors down from Bale Elementary School. "I didn't think I lived around bats, but apparently I do." Van Pelt has lived near Bale Elementary School since 1958 and says she's never seen a bat in the neighborhood.
Van Pelt says cancelling school Friday may have been an inconvenience, but the safety and health of the students comes first. "I wouldn't want the children put in a compromising position or maybe even bit because those things are rabid." Van Pelt says she's glad the bats are gone and kids can get back to class but she wonders where the bats went.
Jessi Kidwell is an educator in another school district and hopes the school is clean and ready for students Monday, but wonders if there were 30 bats, if enough was done. "I'll take their word for it, and if there is a problem, parents will bring it up and something will be done about it."
Hoffman says this is a learning opportunity for the students. "It's a lesson we can use to teach our children what bats do for our environment, why they're important, especially in southern climates. With a mild winter like we had, we want our bats to be around and eat up all the bugs."
Hoffman says this is the first time school has ever been cancelled in the district due to bats. So far, no word of any bat sightings at any other schools.