The trained gray squirrel that escaped Zach Gonzalez’ U.S. History class during a reenactment of the battle of Gettysburg last week remains at large somewhere in the U-32 facility, according to the administration. “He used a military-attack-roll to slip out the door when a student returned from the bathroom,” Gonzalez explained, “and at that point we caged all the other animals, shut the reenactment down, and called the humane society.”
While it appears that Gonzalez and the unnamed student whose project included the reenactment did follow handbook protocol for bringing in animal reenactors, the situation has been complicated by the student’s decision to arm the squirrel with a miniature rifle and bayonet, “…affixed to the squirrel’s hands, or paws, with twisty ties.”
At a press conference over the weekend, Assistant Principal Jody Emerson clarified: “…the gun is not loaded, and the bayonet is a short enough blade not to violate our knife policy. The squirrel is healthy, and there is no reason to expect him to be violent. However, he is a panicked, armed wild animal in an unfamiliar environment, and he is highly trained in 19th century military tactics.”
While dozens of students and staff have claimed sightings, the only confirmed encounter took place yesterday in the band room, when the squirrel, apparently roused into a martial state by a student’s drumming, charged from an instrument locker, punctured the bass drum with his bayonet, emitted a high, rebellious screech, and retreated to high ground by way of an air duct.
Later in the day, a careful search of the music classrooms uncovered the squirrel’s visitor’s badge, along with his cap and woolen trousers, stuffed into the bell of a baritone saxophone. A review of the atrium’s security camera footage from the past several days showed the squirrel engaged in drills, practicing basic pincer movements in the predawn hours.
Evidence collected from the battlefield included portions of a Union guinea pig’s uniform. Insignia badges (not pictured) indicate the rank of captain.
U-32 has enlisted Wayne Farnsworth, local historian, to consult on the crisis. Farnsworth, a Civil War enthusiast, advises the U-32 community to “…try to put yourself in the mind of a confederate soldier in this situation. He has the high ground, he’s hungry, and he thinks he’s invincible. He was trained to perform Pickett’s Charge, and I believe he likely will.”
All U-32 students and staff are encouraged to be vigilant, and to report any sightings to the main office. As for Gonzalez and the unnamed student, they would like the squirrel to be located before the school board holds its hearing on the incident, and are accepting donations at hashtag “Find that squirrel.”