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Wednesday July 1st, 2015 3:18PM

Schools limited outdoor activity after morning bear sighting

By Derreck Booth Anchor/reporter
GAINESVILLE - It was a bit of a surprise Tuesday morning at Sardis Enrichment School, when a parent arriving in the car line spotted a bear at the bottom of the driveway.

According to Hall County School system spokesman Gordon Higgins, the parent called the school and principal Neil Yarrington stepped outside.

"He (Yarrington) saw the bear, but at the time he got there, the bear wasn't sitting on the driveway, he (the bear) was actually walking into the woods that runs behind Sardis Elementary and joins the Chestatee Middle School Campus," Higgins said.

Despite other media reports, Higgins said the schools were never placed on lockdown.

"As far as the school day went, everything was normal, kids moving in and out of classrooms, going to the cafeteria to eat or going to the media center or changing classes. It wasn't really a campus lockdown," Higgins said.

Sardis and Chestatee middle and high schools are all in the same general area.

"What all of the principals did in those schools was just limit outside activities since we weren't sure where the bear was," Higgins said.

Upon the sighting, school officials called the Hall County Sheriff's Office, who advised the Georgia Department of Natural Resources be called, according to Higgins. The school made that call.

"When I talked to Neal (Yarrington) just a little while ago (2:00 p.m.) he really hadn't had any further contact or call back from the DNR," Higgins said.

As far as afternoon dismissal, Higgins said the schedule and procedure would be normal.

"All of the dismissal areas are very secure, so they don't have any concerns about the bear being in those areas," Higgins said.
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