The school’s assembly hall was deafening and packed with parents all talking about one thing – how to get rid of the rats in the school. The elementary school’s principal was beside herself trying to get order to start the meeting. She’d been dreading this meeting all day, but counted herself lucky that she didn’t have to lead the discussion. That was going to be up to the school board.
“Please, please, everyone, sit down. All of your questions and concerns will be answered as soon as we can start,” she repeated over and over again into the microphone. Eventually, conversations died down enough for her voice to be heard, and parents reluctantly sat. It was easier to bring order to an assembly of their children, the principal thought to herself.
“Now, I know you’re all concerned about reports of rats in the school . . .” she tried to start, but was quickly interrupted.
“My son saw one in the vent in his classroom!” called out one mother.
“I heard some rats fell from the ceiling in the cafeteria,” one man said.
“. . . and that is what we are here to address tonight,” the principal continued. “Some reports are false, some have been exaggerated, but it is true that we have found a rat and a littler in our courtyard. The school board and I are here to dispel rumors, explain the truth, and inform you all what measures are being taken.”
She turned to let one of the school board members take over, but no one volunteered to step up to the podium. Squaring her shoulders, she turned back to the microphone and explained, “While it is true that some rats were found in our vents a few months ago, you are all aware that held a meeting to discuss how to get rid of rats in the school, and determined the county’s school landscaper and our own ground crew would work over a weekend to exterminate the rats. It was thought that the rats were all removed, but a recent sighting of a rat with her litter in the courtyard has reopened the issue.”
She was interrupted by many people, all calling out questions or yelling about their children’s safety. Frankly, she was surprised they’d allowed her to get this far before interrupting her.
“I want to assure all of you that your children’s safety is just as important to me and to the school board as it is to you. I am well aware of the health risks of rats – the parasites and insects they can carry, the fact they could contaminate food in our cafeteria and they bite. I don’t want any of your children or our teachers exposed to such risk. That is why we are taking much greater measures to ensure everyone’s safety and health. There is no question about how to get rid of the rats, we have hired a professional wildlife removal company to take care of the problem, and the school will be closed this coming Monday to allow them to do their job.”
Having had her say, she still faced a flurry of questions and exclamations, but at least parents were a little calmer now. She’d done everything she could and, really, they were all on the same page. No one wanted rats in the school.