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After scabies scare school board member demands better communication

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BAKER - A school board member in Baker wants better communication after parents, teachers and the board were left in the dark about a scabies scare.

It was brought to light after the WBRZ Investigative Unit aired a report Tuesday. A child staying at a group home was supposed to be quarantined but left and showed up at Baker Middle School instead. That prompted school leaders to scrub down the school.

"I'm tired of being left in the dark. Snd as an elected official, I don't want my citizens, parents and teachers being left in the dark," School Board Member Joyce Burges said.

Burges suggested that professionals come in to clean the areas where the infested student was. She also didn't think children needed to be at the school while the cleaning was taking place.

Wednesday, Burges said she was told by the school system that they were handling the cleaning "in house."

"It wasn't what I wanted to hear," Burges said. "It was more like we are going to take care of it."

Burges isn't so sure that custodians can appropriately clean the rooms where the child with scabies was.

Tuesday, the school system said the student never came in contact with other students, but teachers who were upset over the way the district was handling the situation said that was not true.

"It's definitely a lie," a teacher at Baker Middle School said. "He was in class. He doesn't take a class by himself. He was in the cafeteria."

Baker Mayor Darnell Waites said this situation once again raises the need for changes to group homes in Baker. Waites said he has had a number of meetings with state leaders after the city had numerous problems in the past.

"We have issues with the teenagers and breaking out and whatever teenagers do," Waites said. "When you have a bunch in a place like that, you get police calls like that. Our police chief does a great job with trying to work with them but he can only go so far. It has to be from the top levels so they can make it safe for everybody."

Baker School Superintendent Dr. Herman Brister has declined to do an interview about the scabies situation. In regards to Burges' comments, he told WBRZ to refer to the press release he issued Tuesday.

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