Are vermin running amok in U.S. schools? The Chicago Tribune reports that portions of Bowen High School's cafeteria were closed "after inspectors from Mayor Daley's Dumpster Task Force discovered a mouse infestation problem there." And the Raleigh News & Observer reported last week that "Wake Forest-Rolesville High School is beginning to resemble a roach motel." But Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Terre Haute, Indiana surely tops the "unwanted guests" category. It seems that crows have landed en masse at the school. So audacious a bird, the crow, that even blaring Alice Cooper music couldn't scare them away. (Perhaps the school should simply have hung Alice Cooper posters on the walls.) But the folks in Terre Haute don't back down easily; they roll in the heavy artillery. This week, the school was to begin firing (every 20 minutes, every day from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m.) a liquid propane cannon that produces booms of 130 decibels. Possibly they should have checked first with Decatur, Illinois, which previously tried similar anti-crow cannon tactics but succeeded only in shattering windows. the crow whisperer.

"Mice shut down hot lunch service at Bowen cafeteria," Chicago Tribune, January 18, 2006 (registration required)

"School battles roaches," by T. Keung Hui, Raleigh News & Observer, January 18, 2006

"Terre Haute crows face cannon blasts," Associated Press, January 20, 2006

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