Pest control cleans up school after rat droppings found in lunches

October 12, 2012 3:37:43 PM PDT
Cleaning and pest control crews spent Friday at a Hirsch Metropolitan High School where several children became ill after eating lunches that likely had rat droppings in them.

CPS confirmed that several students became ill after eating lunch at the South Side school on Wednesday. Officials say they took immediate steps to close the kitchen and are providing students with cold lunches until the problem is solved.

Anthony Dickerson, 16, says he got sick after eating a school lunch Wednesday that was contaminated with rat droppings.

"They say there was rat poop in the food, the nachos. My stomach was all messed up. It was real bad, lot of people were sick," Dickerson said. "I don't know how they did that. They should have been cleaner."

All food was removed from the facility while pest control moved in, followed by cleaning crews. Students got cold lunches on Thursday and Friday.

"They sent a letter out talking about how it was something wrong with the food," Dickerson said. "If you have any problems contact your parents so they can take you to the hospital."

"It is endangering our kids health," Sylvia Roberts, parent, said. "They need to better inspect their food and make sure it is clean."

"Very aggressive action will be taken to eliminate the rodent problem," Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, said. "We are taking a look at the adults who were responsible for the pest control, people responsible for oversight in the kitchen. We want to look at all those levels to see who dropped the ball and when. It is an ongoing investigation."

Byrd-Bennett said the kitchen at Hirsch will be back in operation by Monday.