View Full Version : School caches



parmachenee
06-30-2009, 06:49 AM
This is a reference to a cache we did in Colorado when school was NOT in session. See what can happen when it is. We are even quoted! http://www.dailycamera.com/news/2009/apr/20/fairview-high-boulder-evacuated-students-dismissed/?printer=1/

WhereRWe?
06-30-2009, 06:55 AM
Sheesh! I even note that "Parmachenee" was mentioned in the article! LOL!

We have also done caches that made us "uncomfortable" because of the location. I can think of one in the Pittsfield area that was in a bush in front of all the windows of an old folks home. LOL! Yes, perhaps the residents may enjoy watching the cachers searching, but it's uncomfortable knowing that people are watching... :D:D

firefighterjake
06-30-2009, 06:59 AM
;):D
Sheesh! I even note that "Parmachenee" was mentioned in the article! LOL!

We have also done caches that made us "uncomfortable" because of the location. I can think of one in the Pittsfield area that was in a bush in front of all the windows of an old folks home. LOL! Yes, perhaps the residents may enjoy watching the cachers searching, but it's uncomfortable knowing that people are watching... :D:D

I remember that one . . . that was when I was still learning how to use a GPSr and thought I had to match the coords on the GPSr to the posted coords instead of using the compass . . . and as a result I would take two steps to my right and then three steps to the front, another two steps to the right, five steps to my front, four steps to the left, etc. . . . all I can think is that I either looked like some drunken sod attempting to do the polka. ;):D

Saint367
06-30-2009, 08:04 AM
I've thought about hiding one at our local high school, but decided it would not be a good idea. Especially if the school sees someone suspicious and calls the PD and I have to respond to investigate my own cache.

fins2right
06-30-2009, 09:23 AM
I've thought about hiding one at our local high school, but decided it would not be a good idea. Especially if the school sees someone suspicious and calls the PD and I have to respond to investigate my own cache.


I'm a school resource officer and we have a very nice series of trails in behind the high school that would be nice for a few caches. I've debated it for some time and so far I haven't put them out. I can see how quickly this type of situation could happen, schools have become increasingly paranoid over the last decade to strangers and activity on the grounds. It's a shame on several different levels and I know of at least three teachers in my building that would love to use travelbugs and caches as part of their lesson plan. Plus, these trails are a well known hiding spot for kids to skip, smoke ect and I try to get out there a few times a day, but we have a good sized campus and I cannot be everywhere at once. I don't think that it would add to the caching experience to find a couple of kids smoking pot while looking for a cache. :eek: The other part of me says "these are public trails that were created specifically for people to enjoy" and that was the intent. They are even advertised in the Kennebec/Messalonskee trails handout and website. I don't know.

Everyday I walk along the thin line between common sense and modern perception. I personally do not see any good reason to evacuate 900+ kids when we find a "bomb threat" written on a bathroom wall. Since 1973 there have been over 50,000+ reported bomb threats in U.S. schools (www.ojjcp.gov/crisisplanning (http://www.ojjcp.gov/crisisplanning)) so far the number of actual bombs found: zero. The other side of the arguement was proven this year in Stockton Springs and at my middle school, where people came into the buildings with guns. Bad things can happen in Maine schools and happen quickly. I know it's kind of sad, but I do think that caches should be placed away from schools.

Now that being said, I just completed a required report from the U.S. Department of Education about school safety and facilities. This is a basic form that is made for all schools. Nearly every section had a secondary sheet for "High Risk Areas" requiring info on the type of bulletproofing the school has. I cannot imagine working in an area where every window in the local school is made of bulletproof glass. I guess things in Maine are not as bad as we sometimes think.

Team V3
06-30-2009, 09:46 AM
I have seen caches placed tastefully on school property but they did get permission from the school. One even said to visit after hours or if you do go when school is in session to "sign in" with the office. I actually found it on a Sunday so I was ok.

firefighterjake
06-30-2009, 09:50 AM
I have seen caches placed tastefully on school property but they did get permission from the school. One even said to visit after hours or if you do go when school is in session to "sign in" with the office. I actually found it on a Sunday so I was ok.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with this one . . . folks should use commonsense and not search for a cache when school is in session when possible . . . and folks hiding the cache should make sure they've got the blessing from the school principal/administrator and be sure that the cache is hidden in an appropriate location (i.e. away from the school buildings to reduce the chance of someone thinking is being nefarious and to also reduce the chances of some student muggling the cache on purpose or accident.)

In my opinion the wrong type of hide here would be to hide a cache without permission, hide it too close to a building or in close proximity to students and on the searcher's side to enter school grounds when school is in session instead of waiting for the weekend, after hours, etc.

Hiram357
06-30-2009, 04:58 PM
I'm a school resource officer and we have a very nice series of trails in behind the high school that would be nice for a few caches. I've debated it for some time and so far I haven't put them out. I can see how quickly this type of situation could happen, schools have become increasingly paranoid over the last decade to strangers and activity on the grounds. It's a shame on several different levels and I know of at least three teachers in my building that would love to use travelbugs and caches as part of their lesson plan. Plus, these trails are a well known hiding spot for kids to skip, smoke ect and I try to get out there a few times a day, but we have a good sized campus and I cannot be everywhere at once. I don't think that it would add to the caching experience to find a couple of kids smoking pot while looking for a cache. :eek: The other part of me says "these are public trails that were created specifically for people to enjoy" and that was the intent. They are even advertised in the Kennebec/Messalonskee trails handout and website. I don't know.

Everyday I walk along the thin line between common sense and modern perception. I personally do not see any good reason to evacuate 900+ kids when we find a "bomb threat" written on a bathroom wall. Since 1973 there have been over 50,000+ reported bomb threats in U.S. schools (www.ojjcp.gov/crisisplanning (http://www.ojjcp.gov/crisisplanning)) so far the number of actual bombs found: zero. The other side of the arguement was proven this year in Stockton Springs and at my middle school, where people came into the buildings with guns. Bad things can happen in Maine schools and happen quickly. I know it's kind of sad, but I do think that caches should be placed away from schools.

Now that being said, I just completed a required report from the U.S. Department of Education about school safety and facilities. This is a basic form that is made for all schools. Nearly every section had a secondary sheet for "High Risk Areas" requiring info on the type of bulletproofing the school has. I cannot imagine working in an area where every window in the local school is made of bulletproof glass. I guess things in Maine are not as bad as we sometimes think.

I almost placed a cache there a few years back when I lived in waterville, but the common sense side of me (yes there is one...) convinced me otherwise. I also had a cache on the trails behind the school in Winslow that I had disabled due to such paranoias, I think there was something going on in the media about the safety of schools that got those gears turning. So I had archived it before it caused any problems. Usually if I come across a cache near a school I just go past, there too many things that could go wrong if the right person sees you wandering around looking suspicious (not that geocachers look suspicious or anything...)

WhereRWe?
06-30-2009, 05:15 PM
And police DO stop and ask when they see someone "snooping around". We've been stopped at least 5 times that I can remember - twice by shopping mall security types. On one occasion, a local cop pulled over, rolled down the passenger side window, and asked, "Did you find it?". LOL!

Team V3
06-30-2009, 05:29 PM
My attitude is that it just goes to show they are doing their job. If a police asks me what I am doing I would tell them about geocaching (if they are already not aware of it). While I think stealth is good, there comes a point when too much stealth becomes not stealthy at all. Also, I am a firm believer that there is nothing wrong with what we are doing so we should not feel paranoid, just respectful. I think each one of us as cachers should be doing it tastefully and remember that we can all be "goodwill ambassadors" of the game. That is just as important (if not more so) than stealth.

fins2right
06-30-2009, 06:25 PM
And police DO stop and ask when they see someone "snooping around". We've been stopped at least 5 times that I can remember - twice by shopping mall security types. On one occasion, a local cop pulled over, rolled down the passenger side window, and asked, "Did you find it?". LOL!


I've done that a few times and met a lot of nice cachers along the way :D I wonder if it would be acceptable to activate caches back there for the summer months and disable them during the school year? Any thoughts?? :confused:

brdad
06-30-2009, 06:32 PM
I've done that a few times and met a lot of nice cachers along the way :D I wonder if it would be acceptable to activate caches back there for the summer months and disable them during the school year? Any thoughts?? :confused:

It is often done for the Winter, but an entire school year is a long time to be disabled. And most school caches are still doable after hours or on weekends. I also think if the school is going to place a cache they should be responsible and let the entire staff know of it's existence.

WhereRWe?
06-30-2009, 07:29 PM
I've done that a few times and met a lot of nice cachers along the way :D I wonder if it would be acceptable to activate caches back there for the summer months and disable them during the school year? Any thoughts?? :confused:

I read Brdad's comments and I agree. Any "off limits" periods should be very short. A school cache only available during the summer months is not a good idea, IMHO...

fins2right
06-30-2009, 08:03 PM
I read Brdad's comments and I agree. Any "off limits" periods should be very short. A school cache only available during the summer months is not a good idea, IMHO...

That's the way I was leaning, but I was curious to see how other cachers felt. Thanks!! :)

firefighterjake
07-01-2009, 07:43 AM
My attitude is that it just goes to show they are doing their job. If a police asks me what I am doing I would tell them about geocaching (if they are already not aware of it). While I think stealth is good, there comes a point when too much stealth becomes not stealthy at all. Also, I am a firm believer that there is nothing wrong with what we are doing so we should not feel paranoid, just respectful. I think each one of us as cachers should be doing it tastefully and remember that we can all be "goodwill ambassadors" of the game. That is just as important (if not more so) than stealth.

And again I agree with TV3 . . . in fact I used to be really, really stealthy . . . and then I realized that by attempting to be sneaky I was probably looking mighty suspicious to any would be watchers.

I mean to say, if you're not doing anything wrong, why hide the fact that you're geocaching . . . I've found that like many things in life if you act like whatever you're doing is perfectly normal and not hiding the fact, most folks will look and assume that whatever you're doing is legal and OK . . . at the most some of the more curious folks will ask what you are doing giving you an excuse to explain geocaching.

Let me give you an example . . . if you're sneaking around in a parking lot next to a mall driving in circles (well that would be me with my Magellan) trying to conceal your GPSr someone will most likely think something is up . . . a drug deal is going down, some would be Al Anti-Macy's Quaida terrorist is striking a blow against rampant US commer******m or you're a kidnapper who is looking to kidnap some 52-year-old Macy shopper . . . but if you're out in the open with the GPSr and looking like you're there for a reason you might get some looks and maybe some questions . . . possibly Security might stop by . . . but if you're out front and open about things there's usually no problem. At best, no one bothers you . . . at worse Security or the local law enforcement stops by and asks you some questions . . . although I suspect many folks in LE know about geocaching.

As I said, if you act normal and don't try to hide or be stealthy, generally things work out pretty well . . . although there was that time in college when my two buddies and I "snuck" into a free dinosaur laser light show at the Concord Planetarium by claiming to be with the college newspaper and radio station (which was technically true . . . although I never wrote an article for the paper, my "photographer" buddy never had any film in the camera and the micro-casette recorder being used by my radio news buddy didn't have any batteries) . . . so maybe being sneaky sometimes works. ;):D

parmachenee
07-01-2009, 08:51 AM
Great suggestions and comments! :) The cache in the article was located in shrubbery in the divider of a driveway circling around about 50 ft from the front entrance. Anyone attempting it during school hours would be highly visible from many areas of the school. Being both retired school teachers, we can relate to the issues involved placing caches around schools. We prefer to do these caches on weekends or school vacations but that is still dependent on whether there are outdoor events going on. After being stopped by the state police while searching for a guard-rail cache, :eek: using caution around schools is a no-brainer.