Staffer says fleas, roaches in office at Cunningham Elementary - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Staffer says fleas, roaches in office at Cunningham Elementary

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By: Alexandra Cowley

acowley@abc6.com 

Parents in Pawtucket want to know why they were never notified of a possible flea and roach problem at their child's elementary school. This isn't the first case of critters at Virginia Cunningham Elementary school. Cockroaches shut the kitchen down last year. 

An office inside Virginia Cunningham Elementary School in Pawtucket has been cleared out and sprayed for bugs. This, after a staff member said she was bitten by fleas.


"The condition that she was in when I saw her was scary," said Pawtucket City Councilman Albert Vitali.

Councilman Vitali said he saw the staffer a few weeks ago and couldn't help but notice the welts.

"I had noticed that she had multiple welts all over her body, face, neck," he said. 

She even alleged a cockroach she found in her purse, came from the school. So, Vitali brought the issue to the council meeting on June 11th.

"She told me that she was getting attacked by fleas in her office," explained Vitali. 

Interim Superintendent Patti DiCenso said as soon as they learned of the issue, they took action. Moving the three staffers out of the room and bringing in pest control. DiCenso says the employees work for a grant program called COZ, child opportunity zone program. They have their own office, DiCenso explained, and do not have contact with children. 

Still, parents were uneasy about never being notified.

"I'm surprised I didn't get a note about it," said one parent. 

Grace DaGraca says her little brother had been coming home with bites.

DDaGracasays, "Just little bites that he complained about itching and I thought it was mosquitos, but my mom told me it didn't look like a mosquito bite. It looked like a flea bite, but we don't have dogs or any type of animals."

Superintendent DiCenso says they never received any other complaints from students or parents about the issue. She says the pest control company report showed no infestation of fleas or cockroaches. DiCenso reassured us that the school is safe for students and staff. 

(C) WLNE-TV 2014 

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