What a day yesterday! A black bear was spotted in a residential Fairmount neighborhood yesterday around 6:45 AM, and most of the day was uneventful. This neighborhood, for those of you familiar with the Fairmount area, is pretty deep into civilization (and is split between the West Genesee and Westhill school districts). My sophomore son did tell me a number of jokes floating around the high school about the bear, but that apparently was it for excitement until...
The West Genesee school district decided to lockdown all the middle and elementary schools at the end of the day, and not let anyone go home without permission from a parent first. The irony being that either the decision was made to lockdown after the high school students were released as usual, or after someone figured out that high school students are immune to bear attacks. I'm not sure which, but as I look over at my computer gaming addicted son, I think it might be the latter.
Anyhow, parents of every student had to be contacted by a teacher before students could be released to ride the bus home, or parent had to go pick their child up. I can't even imagine what the teachers were thinking when they found this tidbit of information out. Parents had no advance knowledge this was the situation, and I know the chaos it caused in my house for a few hours.
Now, at the middle schools, I don't think this was as much of an issue because so many middle school students have cell phones. My 6th grader called me on her cell phone, and I wouldn't be surprised if she handed her phone around the room for others to use (at my expense, I'm sure, since I pay the cell phone bill). My point being, multiple phone calls could be made simultaneously. But in the elementary schools, hee hee hee hee... I think there are teachers missing clumps of hair today after pulling it out. If there are 25 students per classroom, and 5 classes per grade, through 5 elementary schools (Easthill, Split Rock, Onondaga Road and two at Stonehedge), and if each school has 10 land lines, it's going to take some time to make all those phone calls.
So you're asking why did the school decide to lockdown? Well, you're not the only one asking that question. There were no more sitings after 6:45ish in the morning that were made known to the public, until the thing was caught around 7 last evening - in the same area it was first spotted, about three miles from the high school. They let all students go out and catch the busses to school in the morning without any warnings to parents, and then they let the high school students go home without any issues. soooo.... I'm not sure what prompted the events to cause lockdown. It's nice they were thinking of the students' safety in the afternoon.
All said and done, my 6th grader got home about an hour and 10 minutes later than normal, but my 2nd grader was about an hour and 45 minutes later than normal. He was tired, irritable, and hungry, and acting like a bear himself.
There are many things about the day that I don't know. But thing I know for certain - the day has created a memory that the kids will remember for many years to come.