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Teachers, Students March In Protest Over Rat Problem At Newport Harbor High

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Students in Newport Beach say their school has been overrun with rodents.

Teachers and students at Newport Harbor High School on Irvine Ave. say they've complained to the school district for almost two years about a growing rat problem and it's only gotten worse.

Friday they marched out in protest. Protesters say rats leave urine and droppings in classrooms, and knock over items on desks. But they say little has been done. This week, teachers say the rat infestation took a dramatic turn. Rats started appearing in the middle of the day.

"This week we have seen rats in almost every classroom while we are teaching," one protester said.

One apparently showed up in a heating vent during class.

"He was alive and he was about to jump out, so I just shut it completely," one student said.

One rat was in a classroom. Another rat was caught in a trap next to a teacher's desk. Both were found late Thursday morning.

Students and teachers spoke with the Costa Mesa Brief and their interviews were posted on YouTube. Mid-interview a mouse was spotted on the campus lawn.

Teachers contacted their union president for help. Dr. Brit Dowdy showed up at the protest in support.

"We have been making the district admin and the school board aware of this for two years. I'm incredulous about this," he said.

A spokesperson for the school district declined an on-camera interview. He did say in a statement the health and safety of the students and staff are of the utmost priority.

He said the school is working toward a pest management solution.


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