NATIONAL NEWS

Bear gives West Virginia principal a roaring wake-up call

May 2, 2023, 12:02 PM

In this image from video provided by Nicholas County Schools, Zela Elementary School Principal Jame...

In this image from video provided by Nicholas County Schools, Zela Elementary School Principal James Marsh reacts after a black bear jumps out of a trash dumpster outside the school in Summersville, W. Va., on Monday, May 1, 2023. Marsh said the school had installed a lock to keep the bear out but over the weekend the bear was able to get back inside when Marsh came across it. (Nicholas County Schools via AP)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Nicholas County Schools via AP)

A black bear gave a West Virginia principal quite the wake-up call when it emerged — growling and roaring — from a dumpster outside an elementary school.

Zela Elementary School principal James Marsh was surprised to discover the bear had somehow managed to get inside the dumpster over the weekend even after the school installed a lock bar. As Marsh was unlocking the bin Monday, the bear began pushing open the lid.

“That will wake a person up,” Marsh said Tuesday in a phone interview. “That was 7:15 a.m., if you are not already awake that will wake you up.”

Marsh darted away once the bear’s head appeared. The bear then jumped out and ran off in an encounter that was recorded by a school security camera and has since being shared widely across social media.

“He looked like he was scared, too — as scared as I was,” Marsh said. “He might not be back.”

The school in Nicholas County, about 70 miles (112 km) east of the state capital of Charleston, installed the lock on the dumpster last week after noticing some torn up garbage bags outside.

“It was so big, it was able to pull that lock bar in and out all weekend long,” he said.

After Marsh’s experience, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources came and made modifications to the lock.

“We will see how it does,” Marsh said. “He didn’t come back last night.”

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Bear gives West Virginia principal a roaring wake-up call