BRENTWOOD, Mo. ( -- Brentwood High School released students early Friday after administrators discovered a nine-foot boa constrictor was missing from the science department.

According to administrators, the snake disappeared sometime Friday morning and after animal control failed to locate it, the decision was made to send students home just before 1 p.m.

School officials emphasized no students were in danger, but decided it was best to clear the building and allow animal control to continue to search for the snake.

Brentwood Superintendent Dr. Brian Lane said that school officials want to be cautious and make sure students weren't afraid.

"Animal Control was great and while they assure us the kids weren't in any danger we obviously want to be cautious with this situation with a missing snake," said Lane. "It would be a scary for a student to happen upon that."

The snake was located just after 2 p.m., having returned to the area around its tank.

Given that the science department was locked, officials were entertaining the possibility the boa was stolen. It's unclear at this point how the snake got free or where it went after it got loose.

The high school will resume classes Monday.

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