[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Rats in Schools

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rats in Schools

I'm talking about the real ones, you know, rodents. Last week, the Miami Herald ran a story about a rat infestation at an inner-city Miami elementary school. Now it appears that 21 schools in all have been cited for poor conditions.

Most of the blame for this has been placed on the school district. They definitely deserve a share of the blame for not reacting fast enough to complaints and recommendations dating back to August.

I also think there's another entity to blame here: the schools themselves.

Seems logical, right?

Well, you have to look hard at the Herald article to find any sort of blame given to the school.

Here it is, about halfway down the article.

Although the health department conducts routine inspections throughout the school year, the responsibility for ensuring that problems are addressed depends upon the school principal and other administrators at the school notifying school district officials, said Samir Elmir, director of Environmental Health for Miami-Dade County.

''We've found that these problems often occur at schools where the principal doesn't take inspections seriously,'' Elmir said.

But Felipe Noguera, a school district spokesman, said that, on further investigation, school officials found that in many instances, school personnel such as cafeteria workers never turned bad inspection reports into the principal. In other cases, there was a delay in reviewing reports because some were sent in bulk, he said.

I feel there's still something obvious that's not being mentioned. If rats are running around a school, or any other place for that matter, it's because of one reason: unsanitary conditions. That means garbage, food and other things that attract rats is not being picked up and properly disposed of. Rats are everywhere in South Florida, they are attracted by water, which we have plenty of 'round these parts. So then why do only certain schools have these problems?

Once again, our society has been conditioned to pass the blame. "It's not our fault, blame the people downtown". That seems to be the message here. And I don't like it one bit. Perhaps this assessment is too un-PC. We would rather blame the big-wigs than take an honest look at ourselves.

Yes, the district needs to enforce regulations better. But the individual schools need to do a much better job of cleaning their campuses, plain and simple. A broom and mop can work wonders for the sanitary conditions of a place.


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