15 Cases of Bed Bugs Found in P.S. 69 Jackson Heights Since September

By Paul DeBenedetto | February 13, 2013 6:47am 
 There have been 15 cases of bed bugs at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights since September 2012, DOE officials said.
There have been 15 cases of bed bugs at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights since September 2012, DOE officials said.
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DNAinfo/Paul DeBenedetto

JACKSON HEIGHTS — Bed bugs have been found in 15 classrooms at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights since September, according to the Department of Education.

The school, which is located at 77-02 37th Ave.has a history of bed bugs, according to parents and reports. At the end of the 2012 school year, for example, an outbreak cost parent Shirley Encarnacion more than $2,000 in extermination fees.

"I ended up getting bed bugs in my house," Encarnacion, 32, said. "It was horrendous. I'm scarred by it. I still get up in the middle of the night and check."

District 30 schools, including P.S. 69, have been receiving complaints of bed bugs since as early as 2006, according to a 2007 report in the Queens Gazette

A woman at P.S. 69 who identified herself as an assistant principal declined to comment on the situation, except to say that she believed instances of bed bugs were common in city schools.

Education Department spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said though the specimens have been found at the school, there has been no infestation.

"Every time we find a single bed bug, we are required to report it," Feinberg said in an email. "Schools are not hospitable environments for bed bugs and are brought in from the outside, usually in a bag or on clothing."

The rooms were cleaned and parents were notified, Feinberg said.

But Encarnacion, who said she now sends her kids to school with plastic bags to carry their personal belongings, said she didn't receive any notification until after hearing reports from other parents and calling the administration herself.

"I sent an email to the administration letting them now my concerns and letting them know I find it alarming there hasn't been any notices," she said. "I guess people are embarrassed by it."

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