Viewer-submitted picture shows what appears to be a rat on the loose in Plant City High School
Plant City, FL -- A disgusting discovery at Plant City High School has led school administrators to shut down the cafeteria for the rest of the week.
While school officials say they're not 100 percent certain it was a rat they spotted, students say they have no doubt.
That means the "Home of the Raiders" is now quite likely home of the rats too.
"There have been some signs," said Hillsborough County Schools Spokesman Steve Hegarty.
Hegarty said it wasn't absolutely certain it was a rat. It might have been a mouse... or something.
Making it all that much worse and dangerous to students' health, pest control workers contracted by the school made the disgusting discovery in the school's cafeteria.
That's what led district officials to shut the kitchen down.
The old rodent rule of thumb?
"You figure if there's one, there's gonna be others. So we just wanted to take care of it before it becomes a problem," said Hegarty.
Emily Cooke, a freshman at Pant City High, was disgusted.
"I was eating that!" she said.
"Yeah, it's pretty nasty, I'm not eating the food," said classmate Peyton Almon.
Students say they've seen rats in other parts of the school before. One student sent 10 News a picture of a rat they claim to have taken in the school just on Monday.
While the rest of the campus is still open for business, the cafeteria is closed for the rest of the week. The kitchen has been cleaned. Food has been removed, said Hegarty, to try and starve-out the vexing vermin.
"I mean, it's one thing to have rats crawling around on the floor and stuff like that. You're not gonna lick the floor. You are gonna eat the food," said 10th grader Christian Lyons.
In the meantime, students are being served box lunches, prepared at other nearby schools.
Also, parents who were alerted to the pest problem late last week are being allowed to bring their kids lunch from the outside.
"That's crazy. It was ridiculous. I was ashamed. Embarrassed," said Shanyna Cionnoly, a junior.
It was a sentiment shared by other students as well.
"You don't expect that to happen at a school. You expect for them to be giving you the best they can," said senior Levi Rypkema. "And then we find out there's like, rats inside."
School officials say logistically they're still able to feed the kids on campus, because the seating area is in a separate part of the building from the kitchen itself.
There's also no school Friday, giving them extra time to work on the problem.
They hope to have the problem solved in the next few days and have the cafeteria back to normal by next week.
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