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Students spot rat in Tempe High School cafeteria, cite sanitary concerns

Posted at 10:23 PM, Nov 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 06:36:44-05

An uninvited guest made its way into Tempe High School. It's small, has four legs, and could be a sanitary issue.

A group of students caught a rat, scurrying around Tuesday night. The video they captured from outside the cafeteria window shows the rodent sniffing around for food. 

Hernando Hernandez says he shared the video on Snapchat and Facebook, calling the rodent "nasty." 

"It bothered me a lot," he said, "because I've never seen a rat in person." 

He says he hasn't seen school officials taken much of any action, or warn students about the problem. 

Hernandez worries this could post a health risk to students who eat school lunches. 

"It just felt like really nasty," he said. "We eat all the food in there. That's just really unsanitary. I just wonder how clean it is inside, like in reality."

Here's the full statement from Tempe Union High School District on the issue: 

"We are aware that there was a rodent on campus. We are currently working with a professional company to address the issue. Tempe High is our oldest school and presents unique challenges when it comes to sealing the older building, however, it is unacceptable that a rodent gained access to the cafeteria. It is our practice to lock up food and keep it in elevated containers to ensure safe food handling and staff has taken extra precautionary measures since we became aware of the issue. We continue to work with the company to ensure that our campus is free of rodents."

--Jennifer Liewer, Executive Director of Community Relations, Tempe Union High School District

The Maricopa County Department of Health says the risks depend on what kind of rat is inside but say they're "not concerned" and don't think the rat is carrying any diseases.