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Black Bear Sighting Causes Brief Scare At Westminster High School

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- There was a brief scare in Carroll County on Thursday morning when a black bear was spotted outside Westminster High School.

First sighted about 7:30 a.m., the bear left and returned to the high school's campus about an hour later, a Carroll County Public Schools spokesperson told WJZ.

The bear did provide some excitement for students at the end of their school year.

"I kind of wanted to go out, it looked pretty fuzzy, but it probably would've ripped me to shreds," said Carter, a sophomore at the school. "I was kind of surprised it was at school - maybe it wanted a better education."

The bear was even spotted on the football field.

"I look out the window and I see a small baby black bear run across the football field up the hill," said Jacob Weddele, a junior.

The spokesperson said students and staff remained inside the building while the school resource officer went outside to keep an eye on the bear. It was even spotted on the school's football field.

Animal control was notified of the encounter, but the bear fled before they arrived, the spokesperson said. It was last seen running into the woods near Route 97.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources said bear sightings aren't uncommon in Maryland this time of year.

The National Park Service offers the following tips for bear encounters:

  • Stay still and stay calm. Stand your ground but slowly wave your arms, which helps bears identify humans.
  • Talk to the bear in low tones, which aren't threatening. Do not scream or make any sudden movements.
  • Do not run and do not try climbing a tree to get away. Bears are capable of running fast and scaling trees.
  • If possible, leave the area calmly. If this is not an option, allow the bear to leave the area on its own.
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