Bear sighting near Altadena school causes lock-down and frustration

Effie Magazine News

A bear was spotted near the Aveson School of Leaders charter school in Altadena, causing the school to go into lock-down on Thursday, Sept. 6, according to school officials.

A robocall alert was sent out to parents at about 2:30 p.m. stating that all students were safe and accounted for in classrooms and the auditorium, but that the campus was closed until further notice. Parents were kept on stand-by and warned that there would be a delay in the usual pick-up schedule.

No one was injured and the bear was caught at about 2:45 p.m. at which time the school was able to reopen.

However, the bear’s presence and subsequent lock-down caused traffic jams on all streets surrounding the school, including Skyview Drive, Pinecrest Drive, Allen Avenue and Loma Alta Drive. Just three days into the school year, pick-up and drop-off at the school has been strained. Parents had hoped that by week’s end things would be running smoothly. Parents maneuvered their vehicles into the school driveway at the front of the school to gather their children valet-style.

“[Kindergarten] pick-up wasn’t bad,”  parent Tina Forrestel said of picking up her son. “They told me to drive around for a while and come back after 3 p.m., to pick up my daughter, so I just went home.”  Another parent who was also picking up their children after 3 p.m. retrieved Forrestel’s daughter for her.

Parent Victoria De Santis, who has been frustrated with the pick-up and drop-off chaos since the first day of school, had a much less ideal experience, and said “Dear god that was painful!”

Several parents chose to park away from the school and walk up in order to avoid the traffic jam. Sheriff’s deputies lingered in patrol cars after the bear was caught at all entrances to the campus and kept an eye on the situation.

1 Comment

  1. Tina Forrestel

    September 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    All in all, I think it was very organized kaos! Many parents jumped in to help with pick up and directing traffic as best as can be given the situation. Kate Bean, our school director, sent communication via phone and cell phone to all families with updates. I was just about to run out the door to pick up my kinder and I received the call to wait for more info. Grant it, the calls may not have reached everyone, but I believe it was helpful. It took a village to get everyone through the mess, but that’s what I love most about Aveson, our community and everyone’s willingness to help each other. Since I had a 4th grader to pickup, a couple of parents offered to pick her up for me. Not only did it spare me the kaos, it was one less car to cause congestion. There is never a dull moment at Aveson!

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