Western New Jersey

Bear outside high school delays start of classes in Phillipsburg, New Jersey

Bear Cub delays start of school at Phillipsburg HS

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - It's not the most common reason to call a delay to the start of the school day, but students at Phillipsburg High School in Warren County, New Jersey, were notified of a 90-minute delay Friday morning because of a black bear in a tree on campus.

"That's not one of the things you think about because first of all we are not really in a forest," said Arshdeep Hanjra, a junior at the high school. "There is a highway across the street."  

"My mom said Skip there is a bear at the school, you have a delay," added Skip Spina, another junior at the school. "I was confused at first."

School district officials said the bear was noticed around 6 a.m. in a tree near an entrance at the high school, located at 200 Hillcrest Blvd. in Phillipsburg, but had been first seen walking around campus around midnight by a maintenance worker.

"We were contacted and they were advised to leave the bear alone," said Kelcey Burguess, a worker with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife. "Hopefully it will leave by morning. Unfortunately the bear didn't."

Superintendent George Chando said classes were delayed "out of an abundance of caution."

It's the time of year when female cubs start having more babies and nudge the older ones out on their own, according to Kelcey Burguess of the N.J. Division of Fish and Wildlife, whose crews used a tranquilizer gun and caught the bear in a net just before 10 a.m.

Workers for the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife say we may see more of these types of situations.

Because it was a hard winter and there is not a lot of food around, but they say there are some things you can do to protect your property.

"Anything you can do to alleviate food sources around the house," added Burguess. "Make sure the bird feeders are brought in, make sure we're not feeding pets outside or leaving food outside. Make sure we are taking care of our garbage and dumpsters, the less trouble you are going to have."

Classes later resumed for students.

The bear will be monitored and then released on state owned land.

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