Publishers note: The Baltimore Post felt it was in the best interest of our readers to publish this story. There is no intention to cause undue alarm; rather, we seek only to educate people on the potential for these types of infestations.
In the past, our experience with BCPS and its lack of transparency has been an issue. One particular incident involved Dundalk HS, where the principal was removed from office and, later, another employee was charged with a criminal offense. When the Post first broke the story, we were roundly criticized by BCPS for spreading unfounded rumors.
Subsequently, this statement was issued by BCPS. That is partly why we chose to publish this particular story.
The Post also decided this information should be disseminated to the general public because of some other very important factors. Baltimore City is number one in the United States in bedbug infestations. A local pest control company told us that the Dundalk area is also a highly infested community. For those of you that choose to watch the video we have posted produced by the Animal Planet Network, one of the best defenses against these insidious pest is knowledge.
Often times, we see mattresses discarded in various alleys and other locations throughout the area. We believe this is another potential infestation hazard, as the video indicates.
The Baltimore Post strongly believes that readers should be informed of any potential serious situation. We also believe that true transparency from our public officials may eliminate the need for the media to publish articles like this. We also find it hard to comprehend that a complete and thorough inspection of such a large facility in a short period of time would be adequate to determine any possible pest issues. Again, the video will elaborate.
One final thought before proceeding with the article is that, even if the buildings themselves contain no evidence of a particular pest infestation, the overcrowding of our public schools very well could present a problem such as this. Every parent should be watchful in order to protect their home from a devastating pest infestation, as seen in the video.
A scene from Patapsco HS
Now for the article…
The Baltimore Post received a Facebook message from a reader on December 6 showing a complaint from a parent regarding finding bedbugs in a book bag at Patapsco HS. The message is below:
The Post contacted the principal’s office at Patapsco HS inquiring about this issue. We were told the principal had just left for a meeting and was unavailable for comment. We were told the principal would contact us the following day with information on the situation.
Yet, to no surprise, there was no return phone call.
Later, the principal released the following message:
This is Mr. Reed, Principal of Patapsco High School. There have been false reports on social media about bedbugs in Patapsco High School. We have worked with BCPS Pest Management and Baltimore County Department of Health and the investigation determined that there are no bedbugs in Patapsco High School. Thank you.
Today, the Post received another message that involved Dundalk HS, along with a photograph.
In an effort to verify the situation, the Post contacted Mr. Mychael Dickerson, the former spokesperson for BCPS under Dr. Dallas Dance, who is now the chief of staff for Interim Superintendent Verletta White.
The Towson Flyer reported that Ms. White is involved in a BCPS ethics investigation.
In a very brief phone conversation with Mr. Dickerson, the Post stated that we received several social media messages about a potential bedbug situation in two high schools on the east side of Baltimore County. The Post asked Mr. Dickerson if he had any comment concerning this serious situation. His response, in our opinion, was unconscionable and a complete disregard for the health and safety of families in the school system.
Mr. Dickerson told us that we would have to file a PIA to get the information. We said that could take up to a month and, if this information was correct, untold numbers of homes could be impacted by these devastating insects.
Mr. Dickerson responded with the following quote:
“Buzz, I have nothing more to say to you.”
After that comment, Mr. Dickerson promptly hung up the phone.
As mentioned before, Baltimore City is number one in the country for bedbug infestations.
To that end, the potential for an issue in Baltimore County is not farfetched.
In an effort to further clarify the seriousness of this issue, The Baltimore Post contacted the Baltimore County Health Department on December 6. At that time, a spokesperson stated that the health department was not responsible for such matters until the Post brought up the issue of cafeteria and food service. Prior to that question the county health department was unaware of any situation involving potential bedbugs at any BCPS facility.
After that initial inquiry to the health department, we received a phone call indicating that inspectors were sent to Patapsco HS regarding bedbugs being found inside a book bag. The spokesperson went on to say that the investigation conducted by the Baltimore County Health Department found no evidence of bedbugs.
What concerned us was the timeframe in which this entire matter took place. Right after we began investigating the story, the responses from county officials began to quickly change from being unaware to aware. We also found that to be somewhat disingenuous.
As our policy has always been and always will be, “You read, you decide.”
We leave you with the following video, which shows the seriousness of this situation.
This video may be disturbing. Viewers caution is advised. This is for educational purposes only.