Mom says bat problem at local middle school making child sick

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, April 3, 2013

LINCOLNTON, Ga. (WRDW) -- This parent is "going to bat" for her child after she says the bats heightened her daughter's asthma symptoms.

Last Friday seemed like a normal day for Jessica Elliot until she got a text message from her seventh grade daughter.

"I thought my daughter was joking. She sent us a text message saying, 'Mama, there's a bat in the hallway,'" Elliot said.

The joke was over when she got a picture of a bat in the hallway of the school.

"This little black spot that you can tell that it's a bat," Elliot said as she pointed to the picture. "I was just in shock."

"Yes, we're having a bat problem right now," Lincoln County Middle School Principal Pam Carmichael admitted.

Carmichael says this isn't the first time bats have made an appearance at the school.

"About 10 years ago we had this same problem, and we got rid of them then, and we intend to get rid of them now," she said.

Carmichael says when the bats showed up about three weeks ago, they handled the problem right away.

"Our maintenance director, he got them out. He stayed up here all night long and let them go out, and then we plugged the hole and didn't have a problem for a couple more weeks. Then all of a sudden, they showed up again," she said.

"Friday she said the smell was so bad that her teacher moved them outside for class," said Elliot, recalling her daughter's words.

As the mother of an asthmatic, Elliot has one concern.

"The main question I had was why wasn't I contacted? Why wasn't I informed that my daughter was around these conditions? I was told that Elizabeth could not be around the smell because it would make her asthma worse," she said.

"It wasn't a matter of that we felt like there was an immediate danger that we needed to notify. We've moved [the bats] and we've taken care of them, and they're out of our building now. We do everything we can to make sure that our students are safe and taken care of," Carmichael said.

The principal says the bats are gone now, and the bat guano that's causing the smell will be cleaned up. The school goes on spring break next week.

Until then, she says kids will be kept out of the classroom where the smell was the worst.

Some parents are hearing about it for the first time, but they'll all know soon now that the principal says she'll probably send a note home.

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