ONLY ON 3: Parents worried about snakes in school

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Submitted: Wed, 09/01/2010 - 9:00pm
Updated: Fri, 12/09/2011 - 2:13am

RIEGELWOOD, NC (WWAY) — First it was snakes on a plane. Now it’s snakes in a school. But this is not a movie. It’s real life, and it has parents concerned about their children’s safety.

So far eight snakes have been found at Acme Delco Elementary School. Most recently, a student found a snake Thursday in the computer lab coiled up in a basket used for recyclable paper.

“I just really don’t want a child to be bitten by a snake, especially if they’re poisonous,” said Angel Simmons, who’s son attends the school..

Principal Janet Hedrick said snake experts have identified them as non-venomous corn snakes.

“Of course I am very concerned that there’s any intrusion into our building that would frighten children or frighten adults or pose any kind of threat to our children,” Hedrick said.

Hedrick thinks the snakes came in through the outdoor freezers this summer to look for water, but some parents think the school has rats. Hedrick says exterminators are inspecting the building.

“They have pulled out everything and looked under it, looked around it, sealed all cracks,” Hedrick said. “They’re sealing every crack they can find today, so we’re taking all the precautions we know how.”

“You can’t technically look for snakes really good if the children are still in the school,” Simmons said.

Hedrick said the school used its call alert system to notify parents, but not everyone got the call.

“I have to get a text message from another parent telling me there’s snakes in the school and the school can’t contact me at all? They have my numbers, they have my e-mails, they have my address,” concerned parents Heather Coleman. “It’s a lack of communication when there’s snakes in the school and we’re not being told about it.”

Hedrick said, “We’re doing all that we can do to make sure that our children are safe, and not only that they’re safe, but that they feel safe.”

Hedrick said there very well could be more snakes, but again, she said they are not dangerous and they have maintenance crews constantly coming in to check the school.

Columbus County Schools Superintendent Dan Strickland said the school contacted a state risk control specialist to see if there was anything else they could do. The specialist sent back a list of inspection recommendations, which the school has already followed.


  • SurfCityTom says:

    twas not my post. If you learn to read and not jump to conclusions, you might end up with less egg foo yung on your face.

    When may I expect your apology?

    You claim to be an English Professor? Care to name the school which issued your degree? You must have missed the classes on reading comprehension.

    While you despise arrogance; I despise ignorance. Clearly if you can not read and comprehend, you must be ignorant.

    Still awaiting an apology.

  • mavericksdad says:

    …Cornsnakes are constrictors yes,but they are NOT dangerous to humans of any age or size…

  • SurfCityTom says:

    become my guest? Better check before you try to ride on my coat tails.

  • Guest says:

    Blah, Blah, Blah, I think you just like to hear yourself talk.

  • Guest says:

    I’ve got great news people, there is no such thing as a “poisonous” snake! I do this thing called learning at UNCW and we talk about all kinds of things such as
    1)It’s called venom because the proteins are too large to be absorbed through the cellular lining of the skin or GI tract. Therefore, the bite is important to deliver the venom.

    2)If your child is bitten then statistics say your kid was the dumb one we always here about on TV (and from Jeff Foxworthy “Hey Y’all, watch this”) and tried to pick it up.

    3)In the event you kid gets bit by a corn snake the treatment will be rubbing alcohol on the bite, neosporin and a band-aide. Whether you choose to do this yourself or pay the really high fees at the emergency room all depends on your capability of working a band-aide (the hardest part).

    4)Being anal does not make you a better parent, being smart does.

  • Guest says:


  • Guest says:

    No one — children or school employees– want to be in a building with snakes, whether they are poisonous or not. There is an issue when the proper handling of this situation is not taken. Kids need to feel safe @ school, not scared of what may be crawling around in the building or cafeteria area. Yes, it is a rural area, but this is only an excuse. The attitude of the school & Board of Education is UNACCEPTABLE. I’m sure they would not want their children to be in this situation. The school should be closed until the issue can be taken care of & parents/grandparents can send their children back to school with peace of mind. Ask anyone & they will agree. If it can not be taken care of, go to someone higher up. mgc

  • Guest says:

    You have a great write up. Its true how kids with medical problems could go into distress. It seems like they would let school out and deal with the problem. Put some trailers out there and let the kids have school in the trailers until they could solve this problem. We all know that snakes could be anywhere. But for this many to be in a school and there still finding them, something needs to be done. It seems like that Columbus County Systems would see there is an issue. Even the principal stated that there could be more she wasn’t sure. So that goes to show you theres a problem. Maybe they will get the issue resolved quickly. That school is an old school they should consider building a new one. The other end of the County has new schools.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    If so, a snake can get in your house. Snakes can get in through some amazingly small cracks, and corn snakes are notorious for doing it at this time of year. They are looking for a place to den up for Winter. You simply cannot “snake-proof” any building, be it a school or your home.

    Some of the hysterical overreaction on this page is so far over the top, it’s laughable. These are corn snakes! They’re not going to hurt or traumatize any child who has not been pre-programmed by a parent who is terrified of snakes. You recover them, take them a few miles down the road to an area of open fields and woods and release them. If you’re not sure how to safely recover the snake, call in someone who does.

    Accept it, we live in snake country. The largest rattlesnake ever found in NC, an Eastern Diamondback who thought she was a telephone pole, was located only a couple of miles from this school. Right now the pit vipers are giving birth and there will be small copperheads all over the place. Northern and Northeastern New Hanover County are chock full of copperheads, and they’re even in the woods near Creekwood. (Crack addicted snakes?) I saw one within 100 yards of FedEx on 23rd Street.

    You’re NOT going to get away from them and if they come to you (as is happening at this school) you simply deal with them as you encounter them once you have taken all common sense precautions.

    The bottom line is that snakes are just as much a part of nature as cute, fuzzy bunny rabbits and pretty birds. They serve an important function in keeping down the rodent population, and with plague and hanta virus killing more people every year globally than snakebites, the snakes are a far better deal than the rodents.

    The worst thing a parent can do is pass on his or her own irrational fear of snakes to their children. Teach them to keep their eyes open, leave the snake alone, and notify an adult if they see one….and PLEASE don’t try to bring one home as a pet. “Snake” is to “pet” what Courtney Love is to modesty and moderation.

  • MarkinMN says:

    I would shut the school down until school officials can guarantee me that they have eradicated (“killed” for you rednecks out there) 100% of the spiders in the school. You can’t tell me that they haven’t found spiders in that school over the summer. But have you heard one word about it? NO! And why? Just another example of a government cover up probably perpetrated (“planned” for you RNs out there) by Democrats. Even if all the spiders found were “non-pisenus, that doesn’t mean that Black Widders and Brown Recloosers ain’t in there, y’all.” As for skeeters, don’t even get me started. Don’t send your child to that school until they’ve hunted down every last skeeter that could be carrying malaria, West Nile virus or even AIDS they got from some Democrat’s blood. In fact, don’t send your child to that, or any other school ever again. That way they’ll be just as ignorant as you when they grow up… unless, of course, they die young cause they got bit by cousin Cooter who’s probably carrying enough e-coli bacteria in his mouth to kill a village.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    for someone who despises arrogance, you certainly are taking your sweet time in posting an apology.

    That is a sign of arrogance.

  • Karen Flood says:

    I think the school should be shut down so it can be searched down for additonal snakes just incase it’s more little ones of premises it would make me feel good and also get whatever you can to keep snakes barred from publicly especially please do something my daughter needs no more frantic than she has!!

  • Cheryl says:

    You tell him! I’m so tired of being characterized by the ignorant. Do you think he gets the sarcasm? Probably not. He probably doesn’t know anything about Southern Heritage…That there are at least 3 possible origins for the term redneck: that the mostly widely accepted is that of rural farmers that got a sunburned neck from laboring outside. (Is this where we’re supposed to say thank for for Reconstruction and the effects it had on our economy!) I wonder if this person knows about the second possible origin that occurred at ‘The Battle of Blairs Mountain’ in West Virgina in 1921 or perhaps from our Scot roots and the selection of the Presbyterian Church over the Church of England. Probably not. To think, there is actual intelligence ‘over the bridge’.
    Here ends the lesson: Southern doesn’t mean stupid or ignorant!


    To the elite and high and mighty one that referred to Columbus County people as rednecks….. let me tell you something, we rednecks hold down jobs, buy houses and pay taxes just as someone of your “status”. Imagine that a “Columbus County” citizen such as myself can actually hold down a job in New Hanover County. Wow!!! They allow a redneck girl to cross that bridge via a ford truck. Redneck, yeah, I will wear that name proudly! I don’t mind waiting for goats to cross the road when they “getaloose” from the neighbors fence. I’d rather look at a goat acrossin the road than look in my rearview mirror {if I had one, I think the neighbors mule head butted it and knocked it off last Saturday} at an “idioit” such as yourself. We may be country bumpkins to someone of your “caliber” but we don’t like snakes, the only good snake is a dead snake and we want them killed. Yes, we live in the country and we by all means expect to see snakes outside, but, this redneck gal consulted with cousin Cooter rite before he pulled my two front teeth under grandmas oak tree and he sayed that even though we live in the country and we aint near as smart as you city folk that we got rights too, and that our youngans and them there teachers has a right to feel safe in the skool house. We don’t want snakes in a public building….period. Maybe cousin Timmy will round sumofem up and drop them off in your car over the weekend and see what you think of one of them 6ft corn snakes crawling over the foot of your 10 year old child as she rides in the Escalade on the way to school! Sounds like to us “reds” in Columbus County that you are one of them der dum democrats thats waiting on the change Obama brought. Talk about ignorance….. you are as stupid as the snake that the janitor killed the other day. Watch how you talk to us “reds” we ain’t nearly as dumb as we look. Just because our school is in the “sticks” doesn’t mean that we should have to put up with snakes inside the building. Let some of the “powers that be” spot a shark at Wrightsville Beach…. beautiful creature in its own habitat….. the waters are cleared…. no swimming. Numerous snakes in a school and some idiot like you wants out children to share space with them. What cabbage truck did you fall off of? Go hug a tree in the mall parking lot and leave us alone! WE WILL GETERDONE!!!!! MWS

  • Guest says:

    What may I ask does your post have to do with the snakes in the school???

  • Guest says:

    Please stop saying poisonous or non-poisonous. Snakes are either venomous or non-venomous. There is a such thing as a deadly non-venomous snake, they are called constrictors, and considering the fact that there are 4-year old children attending ADES, a constictor could really hurt them. Please think twice before you put someone else down, you can’t help where you come from. But what you can help is what you do with your life. I live in Columbus County & have all my life. For those of you who think people from Columbus County are dumb or stupid, I happen to have one of the smartest kids in North Carolina living in my house. Smarter than 97% of the rest of them. And I know plenty more children in Columbus County that are ranked just as high. There are dumb/stupid people everywhere & when you start putting other people down because of where they are from, you really start to show how dumb/stupid you are.

  • MarkinMN says:

    I’m proud of you for holding down a job. But your ramblings just prove my point to a tee. Narrow-minded, reactionary folk such as yourself, and others who have posted their comments here, don’t care about facts and logic. First of all, because I write clear sentences with no typos and grammatical mistakes such as are contained within your comments, you assume that I must be from the city. I am not! Next, you reference New Hanover County as if that’s where I might live. I do not! You say that you hold down jobs and pay taxes just like someone of my status. What status is that? Or have you simply made another stupid assumption because I can write clearly and have a low opinion of people who write such rousing editorial as, “I’ve had it with these mo-f*in snakes in these mo-f*in schools” (see below) and then cites the Samuel L. Jackson historic documentary, “Snakes On A Plane” as clear, indisputable evidence of all snakes’ ferocity. You see, I don’t think less of you because you are “Country Bumpkins”. My opinion of you is low because you make statements like, “The only good snake is a dead snake.” That statement tells me that you are incapable of open-minded logic. Instead, you make sweeping statements that are supposed to cover all facts and situations. And, that, my dear Country Bumpkin, is so that you don’t have to actually think about the circumstances or the facts because doing so hurts your little brain way too much. So, I hope that you eventually eradicate all the snakes, because then you can switch to the phrase, “The only good rat is a dead rat.” As to how I would feel about “one of them 6ft corn snakes crawling over the foot of your 10 year old child”, it wouldn’t bother me at all. You see, I educated my children about snakes so that they would not have an ignorant, irrational fear of snakes. In fact, my 3-year old daughter regularly handled a 7-foot Bull Snake without “distressin” at all. Finally, you mention my Escalade because, again, you have made an ignorant assumption that because I can think clearly, I must own a luxury off-road vehicle. In fact, I drive a 1995 Ford Ranger. Sometimes I even drive it across bridges, just like you do. Oh, one more thing. You never addressed my fear that if one spider can get into the school, then the school probably has Black Widows and Brown Recluses sneaking in as well. I’ve seen them both do a lot more damage than a Corn Snake (even a ferocious one). Of course, I can assume that your answer will be something brilliant like, “The only good spider is a dead spider.” Which , then brings me to the question of mosquito control. Without spiders, won’t there be more mosquitos with potentially deadly diseases? While you try to wrap your head around that, I’ll leave you with a phrase that should make your days more peaceful – not interrupted by the need to actually think about something. “The only good (fill in the uncomfortable topic here) is a dead (and again, please).”

  • MarkinMN says:

    You are absolutely right! It was stupid of me to use the term “Redneck” without knowing anything about the history of the term. I apologize for all people like me who use that word loosely to mean someone who is close-minded and belligerent. Your comment, “I’m so tired of being characterized by the ignorant” was right on the money and I will try not to do it again. If you’re looking for the sarcasm in this apology, I assure you that there is none. Please accept my apology. Finally, I do not, in fact, believe that Southerners are stupid or ignorant – or at least any more stupid and ignorant than New Englanders or Californians. My problem is with the ignorant from anywhere who don’t bother to get the facts before they form hard and fast opinions. Which, of course, I realize just described me and my use of the word, “Redneck.” However, thank you for pointing out my flawed thinking. After all, we can only get smarter if we are willing to take new information in and learn from it.

  • Guest of your Grammar and Gramper says:

    “You can’t technically look for snakes really good…”

    This is the principal speaking?

    Well, what can you do TECHNICALLY? What is technically, a new word to replace basically? Does it make you sound smarter because it’s technical? If they could do it, technically, wouldn’t they do it well rather than good?

  • Guest of Karen Flood's teachers (poor souls) says:

    And boy does she have frantic. I’m saying she does not need any more frantic.

    On the other hand, this post could use a period or two just to let the reader catch his breath. Please. Pretty please. Maybe come to the end of a thought and stop it with a period so it doesn’t crash into the next thought.

    And another thing, “Snakes needed to be continued searched for additionally!!!.” Now, if I understand the true nature of multiple exclamation points, besides their being the universal sign of ignorance, the extra exclamation points clearly identify the seriousness of the situation and possibly the frantic.

    Additionally, dear readers, don’t you ever forget “it’s more little ones of premises.” That is a natural fact.

    Furthermore, “get whatever you can to keep snakes barred from publicly.” I’m thinking of a court order or a notice in the Pennysaver or whatever it is that the snakes read these days. I’m sure it’s not the TV3 online news.

  • Guest of Surf City Tom says:

    Of all, the racist, poor politicking, blame Bush-blame Obama finger-pointing ignorant posts on any news item of the past four years, the comments on this story are the most ignorant ever.

    I can’t even tell if some of it might not be sarcasm. Are these writers really that out of touch with language or are some of these posts using exaggeration to make fun of those who are? I can no longer identify the sarcasm because nobody employs simple editing. It’s difficult to tell: is it ignorant or is it brilliant sarcasm?

    Haven’t we all learned by now not to use ALL CAPS? Seriously, it is one of the most egregious errors of posting to the boards. Writers, please, one period, one question mark, one exclamation point. That’s plenty. One does the job whether that job is to end a sentence, to ask a question, or to show emphasis; one is enough.

    No dots. You don’t know how to use them. You don’t know what they are for. Stop putting dots in all your writing. Just stop, and that means you poster named Fellow Parent (with all the dots and the multiple punctuation).

  • guesty says:

    The school system could take the red corn snakes and bus them to the schools that have too many black racers. Then some of the black racers could be bussed across the county to the school the red snakes were removed from. Then they would all be equal in fairy tale land.

  • I Despise Arrogance says:

    Surf City Tom: Since when did you become the guru for board editing? As a lifetime English professor, I could really slam your gramatical and punctuational misuses in your prior response as well as many others that you have written in the past.
    Do some research on when and how to use hyphens as a beginning lesson.

  • MarkinMN says:

    My post addresses the irrational thinking that the school must be closed down until parents can be assured not only that are there NO snakes in the school, but also NO possibility of a snake being able to enter the premises. That is almost assuredly not possible. The reason given for taking this action is that snakes are (a) frightening and (b) possibly venomous. Given that logic, I am proposing, sarcastically, that the school be shut down until I can be assured that there are no spiders in the school and no possibility of any spiders entering the school. Why? Because spiders are (a) frightening and (b) potentially venomous. Taking that logic to the extreme, I bring up mosquitos because they are (frightening and (b) potentially deadly. Of course, most people would ask, “Who in their right mind would be frightened of a mosquito?” I would say that if you were in a locked room with 100 mosquitos in the dark and you knew that all the mosquitos had just spent the previous night in a locked room with an AIDS-afflicted individual, you might be seriously frightened. And that brings me to the real reason for posting my comment. I am trying to stir up irrational fear and loathing of mosquitos. It will help me sell my new screenplay to Samuel L. Jackson. It’s called “Mosquitos in a School Room”. It’s set in a rural schoolhouse where 30 children are trapped in a room with thousands of mosquitos. As night approaches, mosquitos start coming out of air vents and from behind cracks in the wall. They drop down from the ceiling. Complete pandemonium breaks out. As dawn breaks, only one boy and one girl walk out without a single bite. The rest are covered in bumps and already succumbing to various deadly blood-borne diseases. It may not do well at the box office, but I see it becoming a cult classic.

  • Fellow Parent says:

    This is not a case of neglect, abuse or mistreatment of our children.
    ADES ain’t out to have our kids attacked by snakes, gators, bobcats or any other critters that might pop up…Apparently there is a snake issue(ok, it happens, we live in Columbus Cty)but the school “Is taking Action”. It’s not as if they are neglecting the issue. But it does seem as if this is a case of people not having anything better to do than to call WWAY and start “DRAMA”!!! Ridiclious…I guess it’s hard to imagine that people around here would want to do that:D lol…..but if you want to bring attention to an issue, what about the circus of a parking lot and drop off area…..Oh well, guess thats pretty insignificant……..but on the other hand kids can always wear snake chaps to school;)!!! Jokes aside, hopefully the school will do whatever is necessary to handle the situation and I am a firm believer that Janet Hedrick has nothing but the best intentions for “Our Children”, and if you don’t believe that then you “Ain’t too Smart Ur Self”!!!!!!! Peace.

  • Guest Truthteller says:

    The school is out in the country….and yes, a poisonous snake could easily get in there….as it could at ANY rural school.

    Other than that, your post is a bunch of hysterical tripe. No one is going to be “traumatized” by a corn snake, and maybe YOUR kids can’t tell the difference between a corn snake and a venomnous snake, but the kids that go to that school can.

    Why not head back North, Chicken Little? It’s obvious that pigeons, squirrels and rats are all you can handle.

  • Guest says:

    So if they believe the snakes found so far are non-venomous, who say poisonous ones haven’t gained access just as these so called non-poisonous snakes have?? Any time you have a wild animal, snake, insect or any other thing not belonging, it is the school’s responsibility to be 100% (not 99%) but completely sure there is no danger to the children. And even if they are 100% sure these things aren’t venomous, what about the mental well-being of these children? Children have no way of distinguishing a poisonous snake from a non-poisonous snake. I’m sure any person, much less a child being surprised by a snake where it does NOT belong, would be traumatized. This is a country, backwards, southern school. These farmers think it is no big deal, but it is! The school needs to be shut down and hire some professional pest control/exterminators QUICK!

  • Guest says:

    I agree 100%. I live in the area and if I had children in elementary school I certainly would not be sending them back until this issue had been resolved. Country or not my children and I are scared of snakes and I am sure a lot of those children will be traumatized by this.

  • Guest says:

    You don’t really know much about snakes do you? Maybe you should take this opportunity to learn about all the dangerous snakes in NC so you and your can identify them. There are 6 you need to lookout for in NC. Cotton Mouth, Copperhead, Coral, and the 3 types of rattlers (timber, diamondback and pygmy). Any other snake will most likely try to get away from you the moment it sees you. PS, Dogs bite lots of people, but we don’t exterminate all of the dogs we find.

  • Not a Fruitcake says:

    Some of you all sound like you have never been outside of Riegelwood? Stop getting on the net and showing your ignorance. Snakes are part of life and we have to deal with them. Get an education on snakes and stop living based on the fearful myths about snakes that you have heard from other uneducated people in your family. I have seen homes in the Riegelwood area that I wouldn’t even sleep in because I would be scared of something more than a snake. For God’s sake, you live in the Green Swamp of the Coastal Plain Region. Snakes are everywhere. Deal with them.

  • Guest says:

    How can you not be concerned when snakes are hanging out of ceilings and laying in floors!!!!!! People get a grip. How r u so sure there are not posionous snakes in the school as well. These are our children we are talking about. I was borned and raised in Riegelwood. So because of this I’m not suppose to be afraid of snakes????? This school should have been closed years ago.

  • S.Jackson says:

    I’ve had it with these mo-f’in snakes in these mo-f’in schools!

  • snke says:

    That sure is a pretty snake. Stop freaking out, they dont eat much.

  • watchyoursix says:

    Close the school for a day & have professionals come in & remove the snakes, inspect the building & clear it for re-entry. How does the principal know that there are no poisonous snakes in the school? Does she know that non-poisonous snakes give nasty infections when they bite? Have all government officials (large & small) been fatally shot in the common sense???

  • Guest says:

    Yeah, they are ferocious. One time I saw one kill a mouse in just 10 minutes. Well, it took 2 tries. I do hope your children can defend themselves against those vicious beasts. Watch out, some of them get about 10ft long and have these 5 inch fangs. We should hunt them all down because they are so dangerous. Seriously, the prey of a corn snake (mice and rats) will give you a very nasty infection with a bite. It’s called first aid, use it.

  • no more - no less says:

    The only non-dangerous snake is a dead snake.

  • KK Flood says:

    People are just saying that snakes are harmless to me they are the devil’s serpents and I neva been a fan of a snake the idea of just seeing them oh gosh I just don’t want to even imagine!!! if I see one real close to me I am not a fast runner but I bet i’ll be one that day(lol), but really I don’t like snakes and neva intend to so no enticing!!!

  • Guest says:


  • SurfCityTom says:

    they did not cover this topic in that big expensive retreat they took out in Asheville.

  • S.Jackson says:

    I guess you haven’t seen Snakes on a Plane…

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