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A 'Rare' Visitor: Black Bear Crashes Calif. Middle School Graduation -- and There's Video


“It was just weird because, I mean, there was a bear by the school."

A teenager added some lively, unexpected activity to a California middle school graduation ceremony on Thursday, but it wasn't one of the graduates or an older sibling that caused the ruckus. It was a black bear.

According to authorities the juvenile bear was spotted running outside of Ramon Garza Elementary School in Bakersfield, forcing students who were outside to return to their classrooms, and surprising students and parents attending the graduation at adjacent Sierra Middle School.

A teacher called authorities as the bear approached the schools, but the animal kept its distance and nobody was in danger.

Watch this AP report with footage of the bear running on the grounds:

The Bakersfield Californian reports that students weren't very put off by the bear's presence:

“It was just weird because, I mean, there was a bear by the school,” said seventh-grader Anthony Gutierrez, who spotted the bear through a window and stopped to watch it.

Friend Alex Rosales said it was “awesome,” explaining “I’ve never seen a bear for real like that.”

Within minutes, officers cornered the 3-year-old, 150 pound bear at an apartment complex, hit it with a stun gun, and loaded it into a truck. They then released it back into the wild near the Tejon Ranch, 1 1/2 hours southeast of Bakersfield.

Watch the officers struggling with the bear in this KGET report:

The Bakersfield Californian reports authorities saying it was very rare for the bear to be seen in this area as it is not near mountains or a woodland. Andrew Halverson, a game warden with the state’s Department of Fish and Game, said the bear could have followed the Kern River down into the town looking for more water and food.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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