A West Virginia school principal came face-to-face with a dumpster diving bear Monday morning.
The dumpster was previously locked by the Zela Elementary principal, James Marsh, and the superintendent of Nicolas County Schools, Donna Burge-Tetrick, because the two saw the bear roaming around the premises. Marsh barely escaped the grizzly animal around 7:15 a.m. after it emerged from the dumpster, according to FOX 29.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 2, 2023
Security footage shows Marsh unlocking the dumpster before the bear popped out, prompting the principal to run away. The bear fled in the opposite direction of the principal into nearby woods.
“I think the bear was as scared of the principal as the principal was the bear,” Superintendent Donna Burge-Tetrick said. (RELATED: New Mexico Department Wants To Hire ‘Professional Bear Huggers’)
After watching the security video, it became apparent that the bear entered and exited the locked dumpster multiple times.
The principal woke the sleeping bear when he approached the dumpster that morning.
“You put trash in a dumpster, but you don’t expect anything to come out!” Marsh said. “That was an unexpected surprise!”
“It all happened so fast, and I am glad that nobody got hurt, and I can laugh about it now! For my students’ and staff safety though, I would prefer this bear find his meals elsewhere,” he continued.
Marsh admitted that his students reminded him not to run when confronted with a bear.
Bear encounters can be avoided if humans keep their distance, pay attention to their surroundings and stay calm, according to tips provided by the National Park Service.