A Delray Beach, Fla., high school no longer has vending machines, and has a small gray rodent to thank for that.
A junior at Atlantic High School captured video of a rat crawling on packaged snacks inside a courtyard vending machine. The video spread on social media and in television news reports and prompted the Palm Beach County School District to remove all vending machines on the campus.
Latoya Johnson, the mother of the teenager who shot the video, said she contacted the school district immediately after her daughter shared the video.
That was the only report of a rodent on campus, said Julie Houston Trieste, a school district spokeswoman. The district sent an exterminator to the school the day Johnson sent the video. They don’t know yet if or when they will get new vending machines.
The school is looking into how it got in there, Houston Trieste said.
“We don’t know if there was an underlying issue with the machine itself, but we don’t have any rodent issues at the school.”
Johnson is worried the scurrying critter points to a widespread rodent problem and the health hazards that come with it.
“My daughter has asthma and she’s struggled with that her whole life,” Johnson said, asking that her daughter’s name remain private. “Hopefully this will get parents involved and concerned and get more active in the school. That was my main reason for exposing the video.”
The video, first shared with WPTV NewsChannel 5, shows the rat crawling inside the machine. Students can be heard shouting in the background, “Don’t touch it,” and “That’s a rat!”
Johnson said she hopes the school district takes the same steps a restaurant or business is required to take if rodents are spotted.
“For the safety of the kids an teachers that work there, I just hope they take extra precautions,” she said.
HUNGRY RAT LOOKING FOR A SNACK:
Take a look at this cell phone video of a rat climbing through a vending machine inside Atlantic Community High School. The district says the principal was made aware + the machine was locked + exterminator came out.@WPTV@FOX29WFLXpic.twitter.com/kADnVxIY8O