VIRGINIA BEACH 13News investigated Friday whether a school rat infestation is spreading to neighboring homes.
Rodents have been reported to be scurrying through Kemps Landing Magnet Middle School and school officials said they've set up traps throughout the building.
Some people have questioned why the health department hasn't stepped in, but officials say people who see the rats must report the problem to them.
'It was so bad, the rats were dying in the walls and they had to move the kids to other classrooms because it smelled so bad,' said Colleen Stephens.
Her daughter refused to eat lunch served at the school ever since rats were spotted running across the library and the stage.
'My daughter wouldn't eat her lunch the other day,' said Stephens.
The students are not the only one's dealing with the stench of rat urine. Residents in the neighborhood are also living with the pests.
'They've been in the yard. They built a nest underneath the hot tub. You just see them all the time,' said homeowner Donna Smith.
Rodent control experts said they are not just ordinary rats. They're roof rats, which are meaner and bigger.
'They run along the fence,' said Terrance Wongis of Above All Exterminators.
He said they're infesting the city, especially in the neighborhood around Kemps Landing Middle School.
Wongis said the rodents have been in Virginia Beach for years, but the problem is getting worse.
He says he visits about 15 houses a month setting up traps.
'Get them quickly and most effectively,' he said.
Wongis advises homeowners to put out poison bait, which the rats will ingest and then go off and die.
Smith said they still come back and she seeing them is unnerving.
'It's hard when you want to come out at night and open your charcoal grill and you don't know if a rat is going to come jumping out at you,' she said.