A West Virginia educator received quite the morning jolt on Monday when a black bear poked its head out of the school’s dumpster as he stood just inches away.
Zela Elementary principal James Marsh was in the process of removing a recently-installed lock bar when he saw the bear’s head emerge from the dumpster. Marsh immediately ran away while the bear fled in the opposite direction.
“That will wake a person up,” Marsh told CBS News. “That was 7:15 a.m. If you are not already awake, that will wake you up.”
The Nicholas County Board of Education posted the incident, which was captured on the school’s security camera, on its Facebook page.
When the coast was clear, Marsh could be seen hunched over with his hands on his knees as he spoke with a coworker, who closed the door at the sight of the principal sprinting. “He looked like he was scared, too—as scared as I was,” he said of the bear. “He might not be back.”
The department later posted footage showing the bear getting into the dumpster early Sunday morning, with the caption, “Sanitation: Let’s put a lock on the dumpster to keep the bears out.”
According to CBS News, the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources visited the school to make modifications to the lock bar in the hopes that staff—and Marsh specifically—can avoid a repeat situation.