No rats in Mount Hebron

The Baltimore Sun

Howard County health inspectors found no evidence of rats inside Mount Hebron High School after an inspection Friday, according to Lisa DeHernandez, the department's spokeswoman.

They did see evidence of rats in an exterior courtyard, where school officials had begun eradication efforts, she said, but not inside the building.

School officials sent parents of Mount Hebron students e-mail letters Wednesday informing them of a rodent problem in the courtyard and on Friday debunking rumors of a more serious infestation.

Ann DeLacy, president of the Howard County Education Association and a former teacher at Mount Hebron, said she visited the school Friday and said a substitute nurse reported seeing a mouse in the nurse's office. A student also told of seeing a mouse, she said.

At a meeting that day with elected officials, Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin denounced as false an article in Friday's Baltimore Examiner reporting that six rats fell from the ceiling of the school cafeteria Wednesday.

"There is no basis in fact at all for this story," Cousin said. "There are no rats in the building. ... This did not happen."

In an e-mail letter sent to parents Friday, Mount Hebron Principal David Brown said, "This school year there have been no reports of rats in the building to the Mt. Hebron administration," though he acknowledged that mice have been seen in the building over the years.

He said in Friday's e-mail that one rat had been seen in an outside courtyard not used by students or staff and "we expect that situation to be addressed by this weekend."

Timothy W. Maier, managing editor of the Examiner, and one of the authors of the article, said Friday that "we stand by our story."

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