Hormone-driven deer pays classroom visit

October 29, 2002|By Jonathan D. Rockoff | Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

Principal Philip W. Taylor was in the middle of morning announcements yesterday when he heard the sound of crashing glass, turned and saw a deer galloping through a Cockeysville Middle School hallway.

Taylor gave chase, following the deer into a seventh-grade classroom, where he brandished a chair and forced the buck into a corner as pupils were safely evacuated.

No one was hurt, although a teacher with a bad back was taken to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center as a precaution. Everyone, however, marveled at the unusual incident apparently caused by male hormones.

"The breeding season is in full swing right now," said Robert Beyer, an associate director at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which tranquilized the deer and took it to the Loch Raven Reservoir.

Breyer suspects the deer mistook its reflection in a window at the main lobby for another buck and was charging this mistaken rival for a doe's affections when it jumped through the safety glass about 8:05 a.m.

At the time, Taylor was inviting the 820 pupils to donate canned goods to the Maryland Food Bank. One other thing: Taylor was wearing a bathrobe over his shirt and tie because it was "Pajama Day."

"I'm running after this deer in my bathrobe," he said. The theme of Pajama Day was "putting smoking to sleep."

The deer had antlers with six points and weighed 100 pounds. DNR estimated that it was a yearling - that is, more than a year old, a prime age for running in front of cars in search of a mate.

The buck's entrance into her homeroom so startled the teacher that she fell off her chair. The teacher complained of back soreness and was examined at GBMC in Towson and released, Taylor said.

As Taylor corralled the deer in a corner with the chair, teacher Dave Spink evacuated the 15 pupils, including one in a wheelchair, in three minutes.

Pupils in two nearby classrooms were taken to rooms farther away, as were the pupils whose classroom was invaded.

The deer was last seen trotting off into the woods at Loch Raven Reservoir.

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