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Turkey makes unannounced visit to East Lyme High School

Over the years, the occasional skunk has snuck into East Lyme High School, and birds have flown inside the school — but never one of quite the size that arrived this summer.

A wild turkey made an unannounced visit to the high school, after busting through the window of a second-floor classroom sometime over one July weekend.

Custodians arriving to the school early on the Monday morning of July 9 noticed the lights were on in a psychology classroom, and upon closer inspection, realized a turkey was inside.

Custodian Todd Perrelli said he was in disbelief when he spotted the turkey, which was flying up and hitting the ceiling and then flying back down. The turkey was also trying to walk on the floor, but it was so slippery that the animal was doing a split.

When Custodian Frank Burdick heard the announcement over the radio that custodians were needed due to the turkey in the classroom, he didn’t believe it and figured it had to just be some kind of smaller bird.

“Nope, it was a turkey,” he said.

One custodian was going to call animal control, but Perrelli first decided to open the other window, he said.

“[The turkey] jumped up on the windowsill and flew right out,” Perrelli said.

The incident had the custodians wondering why the turkey would fly through the window of the high school.

“Maybe he saw his reflection. Maybe he heard this teacher was a good teacher,” joked Perrelli.

The turkey left a trail of feces and feathers that the custodians cleaned up, but they kept one feather and attached it to the classroom wall as a reminder.

Head Custodian Mike Hewitt said it was a rush to come in the morning to find a wild turkey inside the building, which was something one would expect to see on TV, rather than at East Lyme High School.

“You can’t make this up,” he said.

East Lyme High School Principal Michael Susi said the custodians found the turkey in good shape and did a nice job fixing the damage to the room caused by the turkey flying up and hitting the ceiling tiles. He said sometimes small birds have flown into the school, but a turkey is unusual.

“In my 20 plus years as an administrator, I’ve never had to deal with a rogue turkey,” Susi said.

Teacher Rose Ann Hardy said there are quite a few wild turkeys around East Lyme, due to the town’s nature and farmland.

“I guess it’s a nice place to be,” Susi added. “Even the animals want to be here.”


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