School forensics assembly goes awry, kids get scared

Posted at 3:50 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 07:19:07-05

Laura Harris is a local professor. She's used to teaching college kids, but stepped out of her comfort zone Friday to teach around 500 Bath Elementary schoolers about forensics at a science assembly.

"We were looking at ways you can identify a criminal from a crime scene," Harris said.

"They were doing some really cool science stuff, the science part was fabulous," Bath Elementary School Principal Lisa Roedel said.

Until... Bang! Harris distracted the students with a dry ice explosion. When they turned back around... Cuddles the teddy bear had been murdered.

"So we had Cuddles with his t-shirt on,” Harris said. “There was fake blood and some crayons on him so students could take samples of the fake blood and run blood types."

These are little kids, so seeing a bloody bear startled some of them. Principal Roedel says teachers acted immediately to get the students away from the scene

"Didn't even hesitate, they listened to their instinct, they knew it was a red flag,” Principal Roedel said. “They immediately stood their children up, they evacuated the assembly."

Patricia Beardsley's 1st grader was there that day.

"I asked her about it, she said it was very sad that happened to the teddy bear," Beardsley said.

Beardsley says her daughter did understand that it was fake. Principal Roedel says other students had a hard time understanding it. That's why she and the school social worker stopped by every classroom and spoke to kids individually who were feeling afraid.

"Wanted to make sure everyone felt good and no one was scared and clarify that it wasn't real, it was fake,” Principal Roedel said. “Because when you're in early childhood, you don't always understand the difference."

The school also sent letters home to parents explaining what happened. Harris says she felt devastated when she found out her presentation scared students and sent us a photo of cuddles the bear still alive and well.

The principal says the presentation did get approved before it actually happened. However there was a miscommunication where the school didn't realize that cuddles was going to die.