Bedford County teacher bitten by brown recluse spider

Bedford County teacher bitten by brown recluse spider (Image 1)

Parents at a Middle Tennessee elementary school are scared a dangerous spider has invaded their children's school.

Bedford County school officials confirm a teacher was bitten by a brown recluse spider August 23 at Community Elementary School in Unionville.

“We saw this as an incident that was reported. We were taking care of it,” Superintendent Dr. Ray Butrum said. “It got put out that the school was infested and that is not the case.”

According to school officials, the teacher transferred to Community Elementary at the beginning of the school year and was unpacking a box she brought with her.

As she unpacked the box a brown recluse spider bit the teacher. The teacher killed the spider and reported the bit to another teacher.

The teacher and her co-worker emptied out the rest of the box and found two to three other brown recluse spiders. They were then killed.

“Maintenance was here that day and found no spiders lurking around,” Principal Tim Miller said. “Parents are concerned and we are concerned because the teacher was bitten.”

However, parents called Nashville's News 2 to report there are several other spiders in the school and school officials have not taken measures to eradicate the spiders.

“The kids are aware that something like this has happened,” Miller said. “I had two

parents who were concerned I talked to one of those parents this morning, she left here with a better feeling.”

Dr. Butrum told Nashville's News 2 that two years ago Community Elementary did have a problem with large numbers of brown recluses.

Following that infestation the school district implemented a training program for teachers to give them tips on how to keep the insects from nesting in classrooms.

For example, teachers are asked to store items in their classrooms in plastic tubs not cardboard where the insects can nest.

The school is also sprayed yearly by an exterminator and as needed.

In response to the brown recluse bite and the other spiders killed, the school is scheduled to be sprayed next Friday.

It has to happen over the weekend, because no one can enter the building for 24 hours, according to Miller.

In addition to those measures the school puts out traps to catch the insects and monitors them monthly to see if an increase in any specific insect is detected.

“I don't want to put any alarm out there, but I also don't want parents to think we are trying to cover up a problem that we may have,” Dr. Butrum said.

The teacher has since returned to school. There are no reports any students were bitten by a spider.

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