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Parents react to Kirby High closing due to pest infestation

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kirby High School students need a new place to learn.

The school building will stay closed for months as crews continue to deal with an ongoing rat infestation.

Lots of families were at Hickory Ridge Middle School to learn more about how SCS is laying out temporary relocation options.

"In tough times, families come together," Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said.

But students and staff might be split up among different locations - like other schools, charter building and churches.

Stacey Tucker is a freshman and doesn't want to be away from his friends.

"It would kind of be frustrating, because you would have nobody to rely on. I would like to stay."

Fortunately, the preferred options have involved keeping everyone together at South Side High School or Hickory Ridge Mall.

Transportation would be provided for both.

"We want the solution to involve all the kids staying together," Hopson said.

As for the curriculum, night classes, online classes and Saturday school might be used to make up for missed days.

"Last year, when we had the ice storm, we were out for a week. They figured it out, so they'll figure this out," Tucker said.

Paula Tucker, Stacey Tucker's mom, hopes SCS finds a way to make up the work without adding days or using night classes.

"You know, maybe send some work home to kind of make up," she said. "A lot of kids at Kirby work. So, the night school and Saturday school might be hard."

The campus became infested with rats after maintenance crews disturbed a nest in a shed out back.

It was in a pile of mulch, and they didn't know it was there.

"There's no evidence of corruption. There's no evidence of people not doing what they're supposed to do," Hopson said. "This really could have happened anywhere. It can."

In recent days, the school has been shut down, re-opened and shut down again.

The district has already spent $70,000 on the problem and is expected to spend tens of thousands more.

The campus will likely remain closed the rest of the semester

"When we get back to Kirby, we want it to be better than it was," Hopson said.

The District says it's possible for some students to transfer, but the superintendent hopes parents won't resort to that.

It's all part of his goal to keep Kirby together.

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