IDAHO FALLS — Rocky Mountain Middle School students say they’re sharing their halls, lockers, classrooms and even food, with some unwelcome four-legged rodents.
One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, saw a mouse darting under the bleachers and also witnessed one run out of her friend’s locker before someone stepped on it and killed it. Eighth-grader Ellie Watts said mice ate her lunch out of her locker, twice. She even mentioned there’s a mouse nest in someone’s bottom locker.
“It makes me not want to go to school,” Watts said. “It’s nasty.”
When Watts went to grab her lunch out of her backpack on Jan. 31, she noticed her brown paper bag with pretzels and Go-Gurt inside was all nibbled on. Less than two weeks later, Watt’s discovered some of her granola bar was missing, and her mom called the school.
She said they immediately moved Ellie to a top locker.
“Mice carry disease and so to think a mouse in her backpack, next to her coat (that’s my concern),” mother Nikell Watts said.
Principal Kent Sawyer confirmed with EastIdahoNews.com there’s been a “few mice” sightings in classrooms.
“Can I say that there hasn’t been any in the hallway? No. Can I say there hasn’t been any in a locker? No. But is it a daily or weekly occurrence, I would say it’s not at that stage,” Sawyer says.
An email was sent to parents from Sawyer last week informing them of the situation. In the email, he said mouse traps and poison are being set out. He also asked students not to bring lunches in paper or plastic bags but suggests containers.
He advises students not to leave food or candy out in the open or in lockers.
Sawyer blames the mice problem on the old age of the school building.
“It’s hard to say the exact time when the mice started coming,” Sawyer says. “I’m sure there’s been mice here at Rocky Mountain for a while.”
Nikell said she didn’t realize how bad the problem is until it affected her daughter.
“I would hope professionals will be called in and things get better,” Nikell said.
Another parent and the parent’s sibling, both who wish to remain anonymous, reached out to the superintendent’s office looking for answers, together.
“We were told first, they weren’t aware and then that something was being done, but they weren’t able to give us any specifications as to what that was or what the timeline for getting something figured out would be,” the sibling told EastIdahoNews.com.
District 93 Spokesman Phil Campbell said he wouldn’t consider this a mouse infestation. If it was, he said the health district would be involved and the two organizations would be working together on a solution.
“We take safety and health very seriously. They’re our top priority,” Campbell says.
The school is looking forward to resolving the issue.
“With your help, we are hoping that we can get this situation under control as soon as possible,” the email states.