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South Holland mayor says Thornwood bedbugs are under control


According to South Holland Mayor Don DeGraff, the bed bug infestation at Thornwood High School is “under control” and is being hyped on social media.

DeGraff said bedbugs came to the school from at least one student in a manner similar to a lice outbreak. Thornwood said it has identified the source of the outbreak and taken action to reduce the spread.

DeGraff did not confirm whether the outbreak is completely over.

“We were told and assured by the superintendent and the principal, through the superintendent, that they had dealt with the problem, that it was not a problem and that there was no need to close the school,” he said.

The district did not respond to a request for comment. Principal Don Holmes declined to comment and referred questions to the district’s public relations director, who did not respond to messages Friday.

News of the outbreak spread throughout the school and caught the attention of ABC7, which interviewed several students who called for the school to be closed. It is not clear when the epidemic first started. But DeGraff said the attention this outbreak has received is more an indication of how social media can fuel concerns about a normal, controlled event.

“What happened is that the social media aspect of the incident exceeded the news coverage,” DeGraff said. “It’s actually way beyond what it should be.”


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