At 1:30 p.m. on Friday the normally bustling Payson High School campus had only breezes blowing through the hallways, while faces of students peeked through classroom windows.
Over the intercom, administration admonished teachers to keep their students in the classrooms on lockdown because of — bees.
The tiny insects had decided to take a rest, en masse, on a rock outside of the cafeteria.
Numerous students at the school have a deathly anaphylactic allergic response to a bee sting. If stung, symptoms may show immediately or take a few minutes to show. Allergic reactions include skin flushing, rapid and/or irregular heart beat, difficulty breathing due to tongue and throat swelling, vomiting, diarrhea, and even unconsciousness.
Many with severe allergies carry an EpiPen in case of a bee or wasp sting.
The situation can be serious enough to cause death, so the high school administration took the precaution of locking down the school.
Yellow police tape cordoned off the passageway between the cafeteria and the culinary arts building. High school vice-principal Jeff Simon and principal’s administrative assistant Denis McGuire watched over the progress of the bee removal.
Two Payson Fire Department firefighters used foam to spray the swarm of bees.
“The bees don’t like the foam,” said one of the firefighters, “We’ll stay and watch to make sure they don’t decide to swarm back again.”
Students were released from lockdown after 2 p.m., but some angry bees must have hung around. At 3:18 p.m. the ambulance was called to the high school for an allergic reaction to a bee sting.