Sequoia crawling with rats

Darien Daly, Staff Reporter

Rats have emerged from the depths of school ceilings and walls over winter break, resulting in issues of rat infestation. The signs are everywhere. Sequoia Librarian Elizabeth Snow was displeased to find droppings in the library. History teacher Teresa Yeager was cleaning her desk and screamed when she discovered a rat living in it.

“I opened the left drawer of the desk and realized a rat had made a nest in it,” Yeager said. “A custodian came in and we [wanted] to see if there were any droppings, and the rat jumped out the side of my desk. We are in a place where students have food all the time.”

The rat that Yeager saw was gray and about six inches long, indicating that the list of possible species of rats inhabiting this school includes Roof Rats and Norway Rats. The average feral rat life span is about a year.

The school provided aid to those who found rats or rat droppings, which carry many infectious diseases. Both Snow and Yeager received maintenance to cover holes and prevent further entry.

“The school addressed the concern right away. We are looking for the cause and not just running around and killing rats,” Snow said. “We did a good job of filling holes, and the district sent maintenance to make sure that the entry points were all filled in.”

To remove further rats, Sequoia decided to utilize poisonous rat pellets. The California Healthy Schools Act prohibits the use of dangerous pesticides on school property. This law allows parents and staff to access information about pesticide use at public schools.

“The presence [of rats] is a health concern,” Snow said. “We want to make sure that we know exactly where they are. We can keep the place clean for students, but students also have to be a part of that solution.”