A Texas high school is reportedly grappling with a growing raccoon problem as the animals have been slithering down the hallways or falling through the ceiling during classes for the past few weeks.
According to local NBC affiliate KXAN, Austin’s MacCallum High School has faced multiple incidents of invasive raccoons entering school buildings.
Morgan Eye, a journalism student at the school, told the local newspaper that she and classmate Noah Braun have repeatedly reported on the school’s raccoon infestation for their school newspaper.
“Six catches and releases in three days is the most we’ve seen at this school,” Eye said.
Braun, a sophomore, noted that reports of raccoons at the school go back decades. He also said that a decomposing raccoon corpse was recently found in the walls of the school.
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“There are articles from the ’90s, from the early 2000s — and even from the 2010s — that talk about it,” said Braun, who penned an article in the school newspaper last month about how three raccoons were arrested in the span of 20 an hour one day. In one incident, a raccoon reportedly startled students by falling through a ceiling tile.
The article mentioned how campus safety monitor Bob Bedard, campus police officer Mike Reilly, and assistant principal Andy Baxa worked together to capture the animals and bring them outside.
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Bedard speculated to the school newspaper that the arrested raccoons may have been the adult descendants of a raccoon with a crippled paw that managed to get into the school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We understand that having raccoons on school property can be a concern for parents, and we take this matter seriously,” the Austin Independent School District said in a statement provided to KXAN. “I want to assure you that we are taking steps to address the issue in a humane and effective manner.”
“We have contacted our pest control department, a professional wildlife removal specialist, and they have already started preventing them from coming into the building with foreclosure work and setting up humane traps for anyone else that we may not know about .” the statement continued.
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“The team will safely remove the raccoons from school premises and continue to monitor the situation to ensure the issue is fully resolved.”
According to KXAN, MacCallum High School was among several central Texas school facilities listed for upgrades under a school loan package that passed last year.