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Rats Find Creature Comforts at La Cañada High School

July 29, 2004

by Olivia Smith, Student Intern

Over the past year rats have been plaguing La Cañada High School, according to students and some faculty members.

Summer school is in session until tomorrow. In addition to students attending classes, campus renovations are underway. Fresh paint covers the school, but there's also quite a bit of garbage. Many believe that the large amounts of food left behind by students attract the rodents. "Kids just don't take the time to throw away their trash," admits LCHS sophomore Katie Applebaum.

Alyssa Tso, also a student, reported finding a dead rat in a hallway one day. "I looked down and there was a giant rat. It would've been easy to step on."

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Sophomore Evan Edwards said, "All my teachers repeat, 'Don't eat in class because there are rats.'"

Near the end of the school year students were complaining of a horrible smell escaping from one of the water vending machines in the girl's locker room. "It turned out to be a rat," said student Deanna Paley. "I see them jump from one vending machine to another all the time."

Even though rats are troubling numerous classrooms, some remain fortunate. Although during the past school year people reported seeing rats scamper through her previous classroom, geometry teacher Mrs. Dicks said Tuesday, "I haven't seen a rat all summer."

Sophomore Alex Hack says since rats can carry diseases, they should be eradicated from the campus. "Even though rats can make good pets, they just don't belong roaming around the school," she said.

Several students interviewed said that sealing holes in the walls, hiring an exterminator, or eliminating the vending machines could rid the campus of the rodents once and for all.

At the La Cañada Unified School District office, Marty Morton, who oversees maintenance, said this week he has not recently received any complaints about rats on the high school campus. Morton said the district has an ongoing contract with an extermination company that handles rodent problems.

"I approach the situation very proactively," Morton said. "If someone makes one complaint [about rats] they usually don't make a second one."

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