School officials work to remove bats from Shreveport school

School officials work to remove bats from Shreveport school

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Apparently, humans are not the only ones looking to get out of the cold weather.

Caddo Parish school leaders say bats have been calling Woodlawn High School home.

"With the cold temperatures, that's probably caused them to migrate in a little bit closer, and then they get trapped and they can't find their way back out," said Tommy Smith, director of maintenance and school plant for Caddo Schools.

Woodlawn students returned from the holidays to find winged creatures nestled in the crevices of their learning space.

"We've had a few bats there in the school," Smith said.

He says it's not uncommon for bats to look for a warm place to roost, but the school is working to fix the problem.

"As they leave, we put in devices so that they cannot get back into the building, and we find out where the gaps in the building envelopes and seal those," Smith said.

He says that a pest control service has been hired to remove the animals, but parents like Jerwuyn Cooley still have concerns.

"Not so much as the bats biting or harming the kids, just the bacteria, the feces they touch and it carries. Our kids will get sick, and there is no telling what type of disease they could catch from that," Cooley said.

Smith says that is not an issue, as "typically we do not have any guano problems, in the building."

Smith said the bats are being found on the second and third floors of the school, but this is nothing new to Caddo Parish schools.

"We've had bats in other buildings. Typically bats gravitate towards multi-story buildings," he said.

Smith says the problem is also common in older buildings. About a year ago, cheerleaders from Walnut Hill Middle School in Caddo Parish dodged bats during their halftime show at Donnie Bickham Middle School.

Smith says that while people are afraid of the bats, it's the bats that are most startled.

"Bats just simply want to be bats and be outside during the evenings to forge for insects," he said.

During the removal process, students are advised to stay calm and alert an administrator if they notice the creatures.

Custodians check the building for bats before students arrive in the morning, as an extra precaution. School will continue as scheduled.

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