Bed bugs close dormitory

(WMC-TV) - Bed bugs are back and this time they shut down a Memphis dorm.

The Shelby County Health Department had to close the Ben Hooks Job Corps dorm because of the bed bug infestation.

Students staying in the Ben Hooks Job Corps Center dorms suffered welts all over their bodies following a bed bug infestation that some say has plagued the center for two years.

Photos of the students show their arms, stomachs, and legs covered it painful red bite marks. The students learned "Good night, don't let the bed bugs bite" is not just a bedtime rhyme.

"We have students sleeping in chairs, sleeping on the floors because they're tired of being bitten by bed bugs," said former Job Corps board member Albert Robinson.

Robinson mentors students at the Ben Hooks Job Corps Center.

He said a pesky problem is shedding a dim light on Memphis and the State of Tennessee because students trained here come from all the country.

"We want it to be addressed and addressed properly so that the children can feel safe at the center," said Robinson.

After a series of complaints, the Shelby County Health Department went in for an inspection and found bed bugs behind the beds, in mattresses, on sheets, and along the baseboards.

They sent every student home until a licensed exterminator can clean up the problem.

Robinson said he believes in the program but he came forward because the students were warned.

"That if students or staff spoke with media, they would have severe actions taken against them," said Robinson.

Action News 5's Kontji Anthony called the center and the director said he could not comment because the faculty is run by the Department of Labor.

The following statement was released by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Job Corps:

"Job Corps is committed to a safe and healthy environment for its workers and students, both residential and non-residential students. When we have a problem, we address it and work to correct it. That is what is occurring now at the Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps Center."

The Shelby County Health Department will conduct a recheck inspection to verify that the bugs have been eliminated.

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