A swarm of what appeared to be wasps attacked parents, staff members and students as they lined up outside Hollywood School on the morning of Aug. 27 for the first day of classes.
Students were lined up on the sidewalk along the gym waiting to be let into school around 8 a.m. when two swarms of wasps came out of a bush and attacked. According to one parent, the wasps were provoked when a Hollywood student was pushed into a bush that contained a wasp hive.
About 10 students and staff members were stung, according to Hollywood School Principal Kurt Preble, who was stung twice in the head.
Suzy Higgins, a parent, was stung five times and her son Aidan, a second-grader, was stung three times.
“At first it doesn’t hurt, but then after a while it just starts like stinging,” Higgins said. “It was very crazy. My son said it was like the worst first day of school drop-off ever. It was not fun, but it’s something we will remember.”
No one was seriously hurt. Students were treated by the school staff, mostly by applying ice packs to areas that were stung. Hollywood School shares a school nurse with Blythe Park School, and the nurse was at Blythe Park when the wasps struck, but she helped direct first aid treatment via Face Time, Preble said. No one needed additional treatment.
“No one went to the hospital; there were no allergic reactions at school,” Preble said. “Obviously we had a couple of upset kiddos, but the office staff here is phenomenal. They were very comforting. The students that were stung were in pretty good shape once the staff worked with them.”
The wasp hive was quickly eliminated after the incident. Maintenance staff removed the wasp hive and sprayed the area with a pesticide, said Preble. The front sidewalk was closed all of Wednesday and through Thursday morning to be on the safe side.
“I wanted to make sure that everything was all clear before I opened up that front entrance,” Preble said.
The front entrance by the gym was reopened on Thursday morning at about 9:30 a.m.
An earlier report published online indicated that the students and staff were stung by wasps. However, they appear to have been yellow jackets, a type of wasp.