Bed bug bites are painful to the skin and check book. Fact Finders investigates a claim against a metro school district from student exposure last fall. One father says he deserves reimbursement for bed bug removal at his home. The school district denied his claim.
His house looks ransacked but Todd Pfitzer says experts told him this is the only way to evict bedbugs. Last fall his 12 year old daughter attended a school sponsored overnight outing at a 4-H cabin, a suspected source of bedbugs.
The student's father who took photos for evidence in a claim says, "Look at the bites on her face. She was sleeping in this bed infested with bed bugs and we had no notification of this." Pfitzer paid more than two-thousand dollars to rid his home of bed bugs.
He says experts turned had to turn his home into a sauna to kill the bed bugs. He says up to 140 degrees for five hours.
But Pfitzer is really hot that he didn't know about his daughter’s bed bug exposure before she came to his home. He has shared custody but his ex-wife is listed as primary contact by Millard schools so only she got a warning call, not Pfitzer. Pfitzer says, "The school district has an obligation to notify both parents in a divorce situation."
In an email reply Millard schools denied Pfizer’s 21-hundred dollar bed bug cleanup claim saying his ex-wife or 12 year old daughter should have told him.
Pfitzer says, "I think I absolutely deserve to be reimbursed in this situation because with a simple phone call it would have saved me from spending 21-hundred dollars out of my pocket."
Pfitzer is notified about snow days and report cards because he has split custody. So he asks why a serious warning of bed bug exposure shouldn’t be shared with both parents.
Millard Public Schools won't give interviews on legal matters. But in a statement to Fact Finders the district spokesperson Rebecca Kleeman says, "In a divorce, the judge will name one parent primary custodian and we recognize this parent as primary contact."
That is the mother in this case.
Fact Finders asked why an email or automated call wasn't made to parents of students who participated in the overnight function and possibly exposed to bed bugs.
Millard Schools says: "Notifications such as an illness are often a two way conversation that involve a phone call to the primary contact"
The father says he'll take the case to court.