'It's a big fat rat': East Oakland high school has rodent problem, district working to fix issue

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- At James Madison Park Academy in Oakland, it seems like almost everyone has had an encounter with rodents, or knows about the problem.

"It's not like a small rat, it's a big fat rat," said James Madison senior, Jeanette Martinez.

After seeing between four to five mice outside her classroom, Martinez says she also had a close encounter with one.

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"I was looking for a cart with the soccer balls, and I saw a rat jump out on me," said Martinez.

Keyonne Carr, is a volunteer at James Madison, three of her kids attend the school. She's concerned about their safety.

"I've seen a lot of droppings like everywhere. Too many dropping for this to be a small problem," said Carr.

Oakland Unified School District confirmed they've known about the issue for weeks and identified three problematic areas; portable classroom, gym and a nearby creek.

"Across the field from here there is a creek and we believe that a lot of the animals are coming from that area," said John Sasaki with the Oakland Unified School District.

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Crews placed wiring around the bottom of the portable classrooms. The district says they also hired a specialist to fight the pest who's placing traps.
"We had them (vendors) here twice last week. I'm sure they're going to be coming again to see how the progress is going," said Sasaki.

OUSD also confirmed to ABC7 News that their main building is safe.

Keyonna Carr says she would've wanted to get a notice from the school about the problem, but she ended up seeing it firsthand.

"I believe there are more. They're home now. They are comfortable. They made a living space at the school," said Carr.

It's still unclear how long it will take for the rodent problem to end. But come September the portable classrooms will be removed and the students will move into this building.
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