Bambi’s Baker Visit Confirmed

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whitetaildeerfawn7The mysterious deer sighting at the E.M. Baker Elementary School that was reported in the Nov. 18-24 issue of the Great Neck Record has been corroborated.

Sharon Fougner, principal of E.M. Baker Elementary School, shares details of the deer sighting.
Sharon Fougner, principal of E.M. Baker Elementary School, shares details of the deer sighting.

Sharon Fougner, who’s in her ninth year as principal of Baker, shared the account. “We don’t know exactly what happened,” said Fougner, “but we do know the effects.”

At around 7 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, “a teacher who was pulling into the lower parking lot heard breaking glass, then saw a deer running away from the front of the school and called a custodian,” said Fougner. “The custodian walked down the hall to investigate, found that a small window had a crack, and had his assistant replace the window.” They thought that was the end of the excitement.

“About an hour later when another teacher arrived, her classroom was a mess—in complete disarray,” Fougner continued. “She was stunned and shouted out that something happened in her room.” The assistant principal, principal and custodian went to the room.

Apparently, the sound of glass that the first teacher heard was from a window that was shattered completely. “It appeared that a creature had been in the classroom,” said Fougner. “So many things were scattered about. Chairs were tipped over. A large window was completely shattered.”

The students were moved to a different classroom for the day and the custodians cleaned up the room. The fourth-grade class didn’t know why they were moved, aside from knowing that there was a broken window in the classroom.

“The staff knows that the deer broke the window,” said Fougner. “They thought it was unusual, but not a big deal. It’s not the first time that there’s been a broken window, it happens maybe once a year.”

Having grown up in small town upstate, Fougner explained that it’s not uncommon for deer to break a window at this time of the year. “This time of year, deers are mating. When they see themselves in the window, they think it’s another deer.”

She went on to say that it’s not clear whether the force of the breaking glass caused the mess in the classroom or if the deer actually entered the classroom.

Having been a principal for many years, she calmly stated, “It’s not the most unusual thing I’ve ever dealt with. As a principal in a school upstate, there were bears on the property—and wild animals—quite frequently, including fox or raccoons. Here in Great Neck, deers are unusual, though I’ve seen a reasonable share of wildlife here. I saw a fox at Baker one day as well as an owl and a hawk.” Though it’s not a wooded property, there’s a large field with a handful of trees.

Fougner was clearly a calming presence during this occurrence. “I grew up in a fairly rural area, so nothing surprises me when it comes to wildlife. I think the fact that I’ve been a school administrator for many years, it would take more than a deer to throw me. In this situation, no one was hurt and no one was at risk, so I had little to be concerned about.”

To read more about deer sightings in the area, click here.

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Sheri ArbitalJacoby brings more than three decades of publishing experience at national magazines to her position as editor of the Great Neck Record. She also writes decorating, travel, food and green articles for Long Island Weekly and Anton Media Group's special sections.

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