Update: Urge North Carolina School District to Pause Building Demo for Wildlife!

Update (June 12, 2024): Cabarrus County Schools has posted a statement indicating that all demolition efforts will be delayed until after the chimney swifts have migrated in October. Compassionate locals will continue to monitor the situation. Thank you to all who spoke up for these amazing birds!

Update (June 11, 2024): On June 10, 2024, concerned people reportedly noticed a “pest”-control company truck at the school and watched as a worker accessed the building’s chimney via bucket truck. At a meeting that night, school officials stated, “There is nothing in place that would prohibit the entry of any chimney swifts into that chimney.” (Watch from 08:07 through 13:58.) However, a witness tells PETA that approximately 150 chimney swifts were seen circling the chimney that evening for more than an hour, with many seemingly unable to enter it. On June 11, we received the photographs below depicting what appears to be some type of barrier blocking half the chimney opening. Given these birds’ method of entry—they drop into chimneys feet-first and in groups—this barrier would certainly impede their entrance. An eyewitness claims that on the morning of June 11, only approximately 50 swifts were seen exiting the chimney.

Photos reportedly captured before and after the June 10 visit, respectively, appear to show a new material of some kind placed atop the chimney.
A photograph taken by drone seems to confirm that the chimney opening has been partially obscured.

Original post:

PETA has been alerted to the Cabarrus County, North Carolina, school system’s apparent plans to demolish Beverly Hills Elementary School and Coltrane-Webb Elementary School in the coming weeks, even though active chimney swift nests are known to be in the buildings’ chimneys. Reportedly, these birds have made temporary homes at the Beverly Hills Elementary School location for decades. They typically migrate to South America by the end of September, so the school system only needs to push its plans back by a few months. If it doesn’t, demolishing the buildings would likely result in a horrific and painful death for them, as they would have little or no chance of being able to escape before being crushed to death by debris. Furthermore, these federally protected birds, who play an important role in the local ecosystem and who are merely trying to eke out an existence, would have no way of relocating their eggs or young even if any adults managed to escape.

We understand that residents of Cabarrus County made officials aware of these concerns and have filed a class action lawsuit attempting to halt the school system’s plans. We contacted officials ourselves, attempting to appeal to their sense of compassion, but have been met with silence.

Dr. John Kopicki
[email protected]; [email protected]

Kristy Spade
Superintendent’s Senior Executive Assistant
[email protected]

Dr. Kelly Propst
Superintendent’s Chief of Staff
[email protected]

Mr. Brian Cone
Director of Architecture, Planning, and Construction
[email protected]

Mr. George Lowder
Executive Director of Operations
[email protected]

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