Snake escape prompts Volusia County school evacuation

Evacuation lifted, search continues for 2-foot ball python 'Brownie' at school


VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – An elementary school evacuation is over in Volusia County after a ball python escaped in the school, according to school officials.

Volusia County school officials say the 2-foot ball python, named Brownie, escaped at Citrus Grove Elementary in DeLand after the family pet was brought in by a third grade teacher for a reptile lesson.

Barbara Head, principal at Citrus Grove Elementary School, says she gave a third-grade teacher permission to leave the snake in her classroom as part of a reptile study. It escaped sometime over the weekend.

"The cage has a plastic lid that was locked, when it was locked- there may have been a bend in the plastic that created a gap," she said.

Officials said bringing in reptiles up to 4 feet is allowed by school policy.

The snake, which is non-venomous and deemed not dangerous to students, is being searched for by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials and has not yet been located.

The building was evacuated temporarily as part of the search.

Kierste Pearce said she is worried about her nine-year-old, and the kids younger than him, as school officials search for the snake.

"Especially if they're little kids, like the kindergarteners, they might think that, they might try to play with him, and they might get hurt," she said.

Head says the snake is not dangerous and campus is safe.

"We have spoken to all of the students and we have advised them, that he will be frightened, and if they do see him, they are to alert an adult right away," she said.

A letter was sent home to parents telling them about the snake.

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