Two IHS students doing fine after snake bites

Published 4:16 pm Friday, September 15, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

A science class at Isabella High School had an unwelcome trail partner on Sept. 15 when a copperhead snake bit two students.

The trail follows an old road behind the bus depot near the school, and has been used for years without incident.

“In the 12 years I have been here, we have never had a student bitten by a snake,” Principal Ricky Porter said.

On Sept. 15 at 10 a.m., a seventh-grade life science class was following teacher Lanis Robinson on the trail when a student was bitten by a snake. Robinson immediately called 911 and the school. Robinson, who is a biologist, identified the snake as a copperhead. The group headed back to the school where the principal, school nurse and counselor were waiting for them.

Porter said the student was bitten on her big toe and was taken by ambulance to St. Vincent’s Chilton. The bite was determined to be a dry bite, meaning no venom was injected. The student was released soon after arriving at the hospital.

About an hour later, it was discovered another female student had been bitten on the ankle.

“She did not know that she had been bit until her ankle started to swell and hurt,” Porter said.

Porter said the counselor looked at the ankle and identified the snake bite.

In each instance, the student’s parents were called.

The student who was bit on the ankle was transported to the hospital by her mother, where she received anti-venom and was still under observation on Friday afternoon.

“Mr. Robinson has used this trail for years and never had an incident,” Porter said.

The trail has been used for leaf collection and tree identification classes. Porter said the trail will not be used until additional safety procedures can be put in place, such as having students wear boots.

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the school. Sheriff John Shearon stressed that the snake was “in the woods where snakes are supposed to be.”

He commented that copperheads blend in well with the ground, making them hard to see.

Shearon said protective footwear is recommended when walking in the woods, especially during summer weather.