Raptor at Roosevelt, Red-Tailed Hawk Makes Roosevelt School its Stomping Ground as Students Vote on a Name

Credits: Marie and Rebecca Deffler
Credits: Marie and Rebecca Deffler

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Roosevelt School has a new and somewhat unwelcome visitor to the school that has had students, teachers and parents looking towards the skies. A red-tailed hawk has taken up residence and seems to enjoy the play equipment and recess as much as the students.

The hawk has been buzzing the school for over a week now and it doesn’t appear to be leaving anytime soon. Teachers, at times, have canceled outdoor recess as the raptor perches on play equipment and does not appear to be spooked by much of anything.

“The health inspector has observed the hawk a few times and he said it seems perfectly healthy,” said South Plainfield Administrator Glenn Cullen. “The hawk flies from one section of the school property to another, but doesn’t seem to want to go much further than that.”

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The hawk has achieved near celebrity status at Roosevelt School. In a letter sent out by South Plainfield Superintendent Dr. Noreen Lishak, families were assured that procedures were being put in place to safe guard students. In the spirit of today’s elections, students are scheduled to vote on a name for the hawk. “With all the fanfare, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the hawk gets more votes than any of the gubernatorial candidates today,” said Cullen. TAPinto South Plainfield will provide the winning name when Roosevelt school makes the election results available. Below is Dr. Lishak’s letter to Roosevelt parents:

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Today borough officials and the Senior Registered Environmental Health Specialist for Middlesex County, Mr. John Obryk, along with Mr. Diehl, Principal of Roosevelt School, visited the Roosevelt School campus and surveyed the grounds and the roofs of both the Roosevelt Elementary School and the Roosevelt Administration Building.  At the time of the visit, the hawk was not spotted on the Roosevelt campus.  The district has been advised that it is safe to have our students line up in the morning, as well as participate in outside recess.  The staff has been apprised of the situation and we will be implementing the following procedures for monitoring:

Prior to students lining up in the morning, a Roosevelt School administrator/faculty member will survey the grounds to ensure that the hawk, if spotted, is a safe distance from the line up area.

For all outside activity including recess, physical education, and end of year activities, faculty members will survey the area prior to dismissing the children to the back play area.  In the event the hawk is spotted in close proximity to the play area, students will be brought back inside the building to ensure their safety.

As with all wild animals, we cannot be 100 percent sure that the hawk will not become aggressive.  However, in this case, other than being unusually close while people are in the area, the hawk has not become aggressive in any way.

As you know, the hawk has gained quite a following at Roosevelt School and as tomorrow is Election Day, the Roosevelt students will be voting on a name for the Red Tailed Hawk of Roosevelt.  The results will be shared with parents and students once they become official.

Noreen Lishak, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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