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EXCLUSIVE: Bear Smashes Into N.J. Elementary School, Gets Chased By Custodian

Blasts Through Glass Door, Takes Off Through Halls, Tears Up Math Books
Black bear scare

A black bear is seen on surveillance video just a split-second before it crashed through the front doors of a N.J. elementary school on May 4, 2012. The little guy then ran the halls before settling in a classroom and tearing up math textbooks. (Photo: CBS 2)

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OGDENSBURG, N.J. (CBS 2) — There were some tense moments late last week when a bear decided to crash into a school.

As seen on exclusive video obtained by CBS 2’s Christine Sloan, the bear charged into Ogdensburg Elementary School, smashed through a glass door and slid into something. It then tried to get out another door, but decided to stay and run through the hallway.

“I see a bear running down the hallway. I kind of … I am not afraid of a bear cause I see ‘em a lot around here,” custodian Earl Hornyak said.

So what did Hornyak do? He is seen on the video actually running after the 75-pound bear.

“I started to chase it down a hallway and then it decides to go in a classroom,” Hornyak said.

Teacher Judy Donche happened to be in the classroom, doing lesson plans Friday night when the cub barged in.

“The next thing you know you see this little black bear come skidding into the room. Earl says get out we walked out closed the door,” Donche said.

She said the bear looked as disoriented as in this video, tearing up math books until police arrived and let him out a window.

When asked if he would have chased the bear had it been bigger, Hornyak said “No, I would have left it alone if it was a mama bear.”

You can’t see it on the video tape, but Sloan saw the couch the bear crashed into. It sits next to, ironically, a big bear statue. The statue is there because the school sports teams are named after the bears.

The school is located in bear country and residents often walk around with bear horns.

“We’re used to bears daily or weekly,” Principal Tim Nicinski said.

“Pretty much you see bears every day in your backyard,” resident Devon Malone added.

And parents said they train their kids how to react should they come into contact with a bear.

“You should make a lot of noise when you see a bear. Never look a bear in the eye and you should never run away from a bear. Stay calm. That’s what I tell my boys,” parent Lisa Malone said.

Even so, most everyone in the area ran from the cub, which came back later that evening, apparently having learned his lesson. He decided not to crash into the school again.

School officials said they always have safety precautions in place. Neighbors around the school are even asked to call in if they see a bear around the playground.

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