The Bat Controversy at Paxton High School in North Walton County Is Still Not Over

By: Krislyn Smith
By: Krislyn Smith

The Walton County School Board and the parents of some students have not yet reached an understanding on how matters were and are still being handled.

The ongoing battle began back in August of last year, and some parents like Donna Arnold believe it is still not over.

“I think it is ridiculous that they have kids in an environment where we know it’s unhealthy and unsafe. It is not conductive to learning. These students are not doing as well as they could academically.”

However, Walton County School Superintendent Carlene Anderson says Paxton High School is now safe.

“The information the air quality experts have given me has said there are no health risks for the children in regards to air quality.”

The Florida Department of Health has not yet tested for Histoplasmosis, a bat borne disease. In fact, no testing was done when bay droppings were present.

Because of that, some parents have hired attorney Reginald Morris, Jr. to oversee their options.

“Despite what the situation is now, more important is what measures were taken to properly clean it up over the past year. These children could have been exposed to Histoplasmosis airborne spores for a year or years.”

The Florida Department of Health will only test for the disease if students come forward with symptoms or have been diagnosed with the disease. Matthew Coleman says if anyone believes they have the disease the Department would want to talk with them.

“Our biggest concern is the possible rabies exposure. If bats are present we recommend not to mess with the bat. Leave the bats alone and notify school staff.”

But for now, the Health Department insists it is okay for students to attend Paxton High School.


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