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Master of Scaremonies
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Bats invade Arkansas elementary school
Fri Sep 1, 1:37 AM ET

It's just a few day into the new school year and teachers are already being driven batty. By bats.

Bats are roosting inside Mansfield Elementary School, and it appears the problem has gotten worse since classes resumed in August. In some cases, teachers have had to move students out of their classrooms.

School officials said a teacher found a dead bat in a utility closet a few days before school started. District officials told authorities they thought it was an isolated incident, but when they started finding more and more guano, they knew there was a problem.

"I had no idea it was going to be this big, had no idea," said Mansfield Elementary Principal Kathy Goff. "We found guano on the roof. That's when we knew there was a major problem."

Superintendent Jim Hattabaugh believed students were the source of one problem.

"We started looking around and noticed the odor was something else, and we kind of blamed that on the little boys missing the toilet," he said.

The bats are in the classrooms, on ceilings and, according to animal-control officers, behind the walls.

"They are really small. They can hide in a crevice. They are just a pest," Hattabaugh said.

After consulting with animal control workers, school officials set up a bat funnel. They hope the bats will fly out at night and not find their way back in.

"Our main concern is the safety of our students and the staff, and we want to get this taken care of as quickly as we can," Hattabaugh said.

Because the bats are in the walls, officials said they don't know how many there are in the school. Once the bats are gone and the school is inspected, the students will be able to return to their classrooms.

The Mansfield superintendent said the school is supposed to get a new roof next year, which should prevent bats from getting inside.
 
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