JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools confirmed Monday that at least three bats have been spotted recently inside Abess Park Elementary School off Atlantic Boulevard.
Officials with the school district told Channel 4 that they are taking "immediate action" to fix the problem, but parents said they're finding out about the bat problem a little too late.
"Filth, gross germs -- very odd!" Madelyn Bill, parent of an Abess Park student, said about the bat issue at the school.
DCPS confirmed the school has reported seeing three bats inside the building and that they are working with pest control on the issue.
"We've got children. I understand just today we had a clinic full of kids with stomach aches and burning. Sure, some are from those rooms that have the smell," said the Parent Teacher Association's Kari Jenkins.
Jenkins explained the smell of the school to Channel 4, describing some of areas of the school as smelling like "urine." After some research, Channel 4 learned that bats are known to leave a pungent urine smell behind when they occupy an indoor space.
Jenkins said she found out about the bats from her daughter last week; later she heard concerns from parents.
When Channel 4 went to check out Abess Park Elementary, reporter Ashley Harding was able to see one of the bats. Jenkins told Channel 4 that the bat was deceased, but Harding said the bat started moving while she and her photographer were looking at it.
Tia Ford, spokeswoman with Duval County Schools, told Channel 4 that the school district is taking the situation very seriously.
"District staff has sealed an area that has been identified as the point of entry. The maintenance staff is installing a one-way door. We are convinced that these efforts will quickly and safely resolve the issue," said Ford.
While parents are relieved something is being done, they told Channel 4 that they do wish something was said about the issue sooner.
"I think the county should have notified us and let us make our decision whether we wanted to send our children to school," said Bill.
The Duval County school district told Channel 4 that they're sending a letter home to parents on Tuesday about bats that have been spotted at Abess Park Elementary. The district's full statement reads:
"Our Facilities office is aware of the presence of bats on the Abess Park campus and have taken immediate action. The school has reported that they have seen three of them. District staff has sealed an area that has been identified as the point of entry. To facilitate the exit of any remaining bats, the maintenance staff is installing a one-way door. We are convinced that these efforts will quickly and safely resolve the issue. In addition, our team of key maintenance, custodial, environmental, and school personnel will continue to assess and monitor the campus to prevent any further intrusions."