ONLY ON 3: Parents worried about snakes in school


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.

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“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.