Snakes found at Biloxi elementary school

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - "Came in first thing in the morning, unlocked my door, and there was one right there," said Becky Lucas as she pointed to the floor of her classroom.

Lucas has encountered two snakes in her computer lab in the last two weeks.  One was found by her desk.  The other was by the refrigerator.

"Any kind of snake is scary, yeah," Lucas said.  "So when I saw it, they could hear me all over the building.  I sounded the alarm."

Since school started in August, there have been a number of snake sightings at Beauvoir Elementary School. Teachers believe they are baby Water Moccasins.

"Probably as many as ten snakes over the course of the year have come on campus here, and less than half of those have been poisonous.  But they've been dealt with quickly," said Dr. David Spinks, Director of Student Services for the Biloxi School District.

Spinks said snakes have been spotted, mainly outside the school building since the 1980s. That's because the campus is surrounded by woods and wetlands.

"The most recent sightings that we've had at this campus I believe is associated with the wetlands and the rain that we've had in recent weeks," Spinks said.

School leaders say they don't know how the reptiles entered the building.  So they've taken precautions like patching up holes, spreading moth balls and lime around the campus, and keeping the grounds mowed and weeded.

"That's been somewhat successful, but we still have snakes that come on campus and we have staff that is ready to deal with those snakes. The children are not in any danger," Spinks said.

Every morning, teachers also check their classrooms.  You don't have to remind Becky Lucas to be aware of her surroundings.

"I'm very aware of snakes these days, very aware," Lucas said.

Biloxi school leaders pointed out that no child has ever seen a snake at Beauvoir Elementary, and the children have been taught to notify an adult if they happen to see one.  A wildlife expert also comes to the school periodically to talk to the students about snakes.

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