Updated 11/06/2010 04:45 PM
Brooklyn School Tormented By Bed Bugs Seeks To Replenish Lost Supplies
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A Brooklyn school that lost hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of materials because of a confirmed case of bed bugs held a fundraiser on Saturday to raise money for new supplies.
Teachers, students and parents at P.S. 197 and I.S. 381 in Midwood contributed to a car wash and bake sale to raise money for classroom supplies they say were destroyed by exterminators.
They say after bed bugs were discovered at the building on East 22nd Street, five classrooms and an auditorium were locked for two weeks while the area was fumigated.
Afterwards, they say many books and teaching materials had to be tossed out because they were damaged by the chemicals.
Now, the school community hopes the neighborhood can help raise the money to buy new supplies.
"We lost reading books, supplies, back paper, bulletin boards, resource charts," said teacher Danielle Tricomi. "It's very difficult to teach without even a marker to write on a chart that we don't have any more it was all thrown out because of the exterminating."
"We just want to get back on our feet. This is like the best thing in Brooklyn here, so we just want to get back on our feet running and doing good again," said teacher Jennifer Giacopello.
The Department of Education said the vendor accused of damaging the property is no longer used and the state Department of Environmental Conservation is currently investigating the incident.
That is little comfort to the teachers at the car wash, who are only trying to get their school back on track.
"It was a shocker when you walked in, to see bare walls," said a car wash participant.
Over the first two months of this school year, there were 336 confirmed bed bug sightings in city schools, triple the number of cases from the same period last year.
DOE officials say none of the involved schools have had bed bug infestations, and that a documented school bed bug sighting usually involves one to five bugs apiece.