Students used to play hacky sack and Snapchat rap battles in the courtyard alongside  rats….until now. Students came back to school this year to find gravel instead of grass in the courtyard and no more occurrences of rats running past teenagers feasting on their lunch food.

“The rats are gone,” said Principal P. Joseph Powers.“There is nothing in the courtyard at all.”

Students who usually hang out in the courtyard seem to enjoy the new gravel and it’s convenience.

“I like the new gravel because my hacky sack doesn’t get stuck in the bushes, you know?” said Emre Chagal ‘18. “I could literally see the rat holes[before gravel].”

Other students who don’t really play in the courtyard still seem to enjoy the change in scenery and the lack of rodents.

“I think the courtyard looks a little nicer” said Lourdes Hernandez ‘18. “ And also because there’s less rats too.”

Powers explained that the rat problem had increased since the south building was built.

“There were these two large, I think female rats running from the alley out to the street,” said Powers. “I referred to them as Thelma and Louise.”

In an effort to get rid of the newly acquired rats, Powers researched solutions until coming up with the idea of changing the grass to  gravel.

“Once they put it [gravel] down, they [the rats] didn’t come back,” said Powers. “It’s hard for them to dig and it actually caves in on them. The problem is resolved.”

Assistant Principal Eric Fay explained their attempts to get rid of the rats. They set traps, had exterminators come in and finally replaced the grass with the gravel. He believes the problem is resolved but administration won’t know until the snow begins to fall.

“It would be very easy to tell when we get dusting of snow,” said Fay, “We would see their little tracks.”

But in case the rats come back, administration has potential backup plans.

“One of the most unique ideas that anyone had is to hire guys to bring out [feral] cats. You can actually have cats who live in the courtyard,” Fay explained. “It’s not that the cats eat the rats, it’s just that they will scare them away.”

Although the gravel idea seems to be working for the rats, it brings up the new problem of  students going into the gravel, causing gravel to go all over the courtyard.

“We have to take into consideration the people that clean up,” said security guard Rodolfo Gonzalez. “We don’t have a problem with the students being outside but other students, they mess [it] up. It’s not fair.”

Powers explains how custodian are obligated to put the pebbles back where they belong. If the students keep messing up the pebbles, Powers said that the courtyard will be off limits.