Seems like bats are everywhere these days. While one of them is setting box-office records, a bunch of others are allegedly tormenting Utah schoolchildren. So says a recent lawsuit against the Alpine School District, alleging that bats infested the school attended by the plaintiff's son, Chase, who wasn't injured, but could have been.
According to the report, the plaintiff's lawyer said that Chase caught or found one of the bats last September, then "showed it to friends for two hours." (Unless they just stood around staring at it for two hours, I don't really want to know what they did during the lengthy bat showing.) Also, the school allegedly used poison on the bats, failing to warn students about the poison or that bat carcasses would result. As a result, the lawsuit claims, Chase and others were "exposed" to bats and thereby placed at risk for rabies. "When you're told your child may [have been] exposed to a disease that's 100 percent fatal," the attorney said, "that tends to grab your attention." It's probably especially attention-grabbing when you hear it from an attorney who may have an idea who's responsible for it.
There may also be an issue here with the definition of "exposed." The complaint doesn't allege that Turner's son was bitten by the bat during the show-and-tell, or that he was injured in some other way. I didn't think you could get rabies just by looking at a bat, and so the treatments that Turner had her son go through (and paid $2,000 for) may not have been strictly necessary. But the facts remain somewhat unclear.
School officials say that they offered to pay for treatment, that students were warned about the bats, and that they didn't need to be warned about poison because there wasn't any. The school said that the bats were in fact driven out by "pest-removal professionals at night using special lighting." That doesn't sound right to me, because my understanding was that bats are actually drawn to special lighting, and then fight crime, but I admit I'm no chiropterologist.
Link: Salt Lake Tribune