Bears are back: Sighting cancels recess at Forsyth County elementary school

Mama black bear and her two cubs seen in Haw Creek subdivision

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CUMMING, Ga.—If Cumming were on the path to Oz, Dorothy would be singing, "bears and bears and bears, oh my!"

Mashburn Elementary School Principal Tracey Smith canceled recess for her students on Tuesday, Oct. 15 based on calls about bear sightings received from parents living in the Haw Creek subdivision.

"These are black bears and they're unpredictable," she said. "We don't want to put any of our students or faculty in danger."

Smith said she and a co-worker would be checking the perimeter prior to the end of the day to make sure the area is safe.

"From now on, we've advised our staff that if they are on the playground and see a bear, to try to enter the building as calmly and quietly as possible, but if they can't to make sure they have the gates locked to the playgrounds at all times," Smith said.

Jennifer Caracciolo, public information and communications director for the board of education said there is no normal procedure for wild animal sightings.

"Each sighting depends on the animal and situation," she said. "However, Mashburn Elementary has a plan for the bear siting today."

Caracciolo said that unless the bear is threatening, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Forsyth County Animal Control would respond.

She said they regularly communicate when sightings occur.