CLASSROOMS OPEN AFTER RAT SCARE
By Charles Rogers
Six temporary classrooms in the courtyard behind P.S. 272 opened Tuesday after they had been closed since March 12, because a rat - or rats - were reportedly seen near them. The students had been relocated to the main building to take their classes.
The portable classrooms, essentially temporary trailers, house pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes, plus a special education class.
Melody Meyer, a spokesperson for the City De-partment of Education (DOE), said she received a call on Wednesday, March 12, that the trailers had been closed by P.S. 272's principal, Ms. Dakota Reyes, when she was told by a teacher that a rat was seen near the portable trailers.
Meyer said Ms. Reyes made sure the trailers were closed and secured by the school's custodian, who also patched up whatever possible holes might allow the rats entrance, and directed one of her assistant principals to call an exterminator.
When the exterminator arrived, he placed a number of the black, coffin-shaped bait boxes outside around the wooden trailers and through the yard.
One teacher told reporters she had seen many rats scrambling around the premises within the "past couple of months."
Janet Zysberg, head of the school's United Fed-eration of Teachers (UFT) chapter, said she saw a dozen rats in the area within a 10-minute period just this past week. She took 35mm pictures of the rodents, but the photos were taken from so far away that they were barely discernable.
"We've been complaining about the rats for quite some time," the union official said. "If we hadn't gotten involved, or if we didn't bring it to someone's attention, the rats would still be running around and the children inside the trailers would continue to be in danger."
Exterminators stayed on the job - and the classrooms stayed closed - until the problem was taken care of, according to officials.
Meyer said Reyes "followed correct DOE protocol throughout the whole situation."