Snake in Classroom Forces Kids to be Sent Home (2nd Invasion for the School!)

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: September 12, 2023
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Snakes on a plane? Try a snake in a classroom! A recent event at a local Charlotte school caused quite the panic and ended up shutting down school for the day. After seeing a snake slithering around, it’s no wonder that school was canceled for the day!

This Is The Message Sent to Parents After a Snake Was Found in the School

Yellow square sign with two black silhouettes in a cross walk. Below a yellow rectangle sign has black words " school Zone."

Unity Classical Charter School in Charlotte had an unwanted visitor, a snake, show up in their classroom!

©Anan Kaewkhammul/Shutterstock.com

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“Good morning families. This urgent message is to inform you that we will have to close the school due to the discovery of a snake in one of the classrooms. We are asking families to please come as soon as possible to pick up your children until we can resolve the situation with Animal Control. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to ensure the safety of everyone at Unity.”

QC News

That was the message sent to parents on September 7th after a snake was found in a local school. The school, Unity Classical Charter School in Charlotte, North Carolina, was forced to close its doors for the day.

The events began when a teacher walked around the classroom while the kids were out at recess. According to Sheila Reddick the school’s executive director, the teacher saw something move, then noticed that it was slithering around. Shutting the door and keeping kids from coming back into the room, the teacher immediately called the administration for help.

The Snake Was Potentially Venomous

Copperheads in leaf litter

The most likely culprit was a baby copperhead, a venomous species of snake found in the region.

©DnDavis/Shutterstock.com

Normally, a snake by itself isn’t cause for too much panic, but the circumstances surrounding this instance were different. First, when the professionals came in to catch the snake, they identified the reptile as a venomous species. In Charlotte, there are only two species of venomous snake: cottonmouths and copperheads. Inside a school, it was most likely a copperhead.

On top of the snake being venomous, it was also identified as a baby. If there’s a baby snake, that means that there are usually more slithering around somewhere. An adult snake is usually alone, but baby snakes are a sign that it isn’t alone.

Even more, this isn’t the first time that a snake has entered the campus! A few weeks before, the cleaning staff at the school found another snake, although the exact species wasn’t specified. For some reason, Unity Classical Charter School is just a snake magnet!

Nobody Was Hurt, But Everyone Was Sent Home

Since the snake was venomous (probably a baby copperhead), it was probably wise to shut the school down for a day in order to do a deep and thorough cleaning of the school. On top of a snake search, an expert came in and recommended that they spray a copperhead repellent across the campus to hopefully ward off any potential invaders.

Although it was an inconvenience, parents took the news of a snake in the classroom pretty well.

“They said that the kids were safe, and they were just doing this as a precautionary measure, so I feel like the communication was fairly calming in a way,” said King. “I’m a little concerned that I’ve picked her up twice already for this.”

QC News

While it may seem a little scary for people outside of the area, snakes in North Carolina aren’t uncommon, and the school didn’t have to close; they chose to in order to do a thorough investigation. When you live where snakes live, you better get used to snakes living where you live!

Are Copperheads Dangerous?

baby copperhead closeup

Baby copperheads can be identified by their neon yellow or green tail tips that they use to lure in prey.

©woodphotography LLC/Shutterstock.com

It isn’t listed explicitly, but it was likely a copperhead found in the school. North Carolina has four species of venomous snakes: copperheads, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and coral snakes. In Charlotte, only copperheads and cottonmouths are common. Cottonmouths are almost exclusively found in swamps and wet areas, leaving copperheads as the prime suspect.

That said, copperheads are dangerous, but fatal bites are extremely rare. Most of the time, bites that are fatal are from a refusal or inability to get treatment. Additionally, copperheads usually bite when they feel threatened or stepped on, and even then, they may not always inject venom (something known as dry bite). If a bite does happen, the symptoms include intense pain, swelling, nausea, and tissue damage.

While the snake expert recommended they put a repellent down, there isn’t a lot of research that shows snake repellents do anything. Many of the snake-repellent products online are gimmicks and don’t work at all, and the ones that “might” work are totally negligible. Why? Well, snakes aren’t insects, and you can’t just spray some lemon or sprinkle cinnamon to get rid of them.

The best way, without a doubt, to keep snakes off your property is to remove the things they are eating and the places they are hiding. Copperheads love mice, small amphibians, and reptiles, so it’s possible that if the school took care of those specific pests, it would reduce the likelihood of a copperhead returning.

Regardless, it looks like the school might be in the market for a new mascot: The Unity Copperheads!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © woodphotography LLC/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

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