Friday, May 22 - Drama on the Playground

A student aide comes into the office this morning to tell us that there is a rather gruesome scene unfolding on the playground. In the far corner near the woods and well away from the ball fields there is a mother deer fending off turkey vultures that, it is assumed, are after her fawn. All this is happening while the gym teacher is testing the students in their mile run at the other end of the field. Needless to say, they are all panicked.

There are about 20 vultures circling the playground. Another group of eight has found a place to view the course of events in an ivy-covered dead tree on an adjacent lot. Those that are not in the air or in the tree are stalking the deer with their wings spread like they are about to engage in a group performance of the paso doble.

As they advance on the mother she charges, but she is careful not to get too far away from what she is protecting. This goes on for some time until finally some of the vultures lose interest and fly off. The mother retreats into the shady woods and continues to stand guard. Several of the vultures remain in the tree evaluating the situation. One has to wonder if maybe they are eyeing up a small child. The gym teacher is certainly counting heads.

The principal touches base with the teachers who will have playground duty during recess to let them know what is transpiring. Keep the children away from that area he warns.

Third grade lunch goes off without a hitch. However, during fourth grade lunch, while the children watch from a distance, a couple of aides and a teacher decide to check things out. (They really know how to listen!) They tell the children that the fawn was hit by a lawnmower and the vultures are eating it and there’s not much left.

This may be the course of nature, but by the chatter and noise level that was heard in the hallways when the students met their teachers after recess, it has left many distressed.

I’m sure that we will be getting calls from parents wondering why we even allowed them to go outside.

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