DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A Volusia County high school has been put on alert after a bear was seen roaming the campus.
The bear was spotted early Monday at Father Lopez Catholic High School on LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach.
Officials told Local 6 that it appears the bear returned Tuesday morning after trash and paw prints were found on campus grounds.
"There is probably about (another) half a dozen trash bags strewn all over the back of the compound," said school transportation coordinator Roger Reichard, who came face to face with the bear the previous day.
Reichard described his encounter as frightening.
"(I) turned around to walk to the building and right there he is. And I'm looking at him and he's looking at me. He's awful big, and I'm going, 'Oh no!' I just yelled at him (and) pointed at him to go. He looked at me and decided, 'Well, OK, I guess I better go.' Having something that big lurking in the woods right behind the school is kind of scary."
School Principal Lee Sayago told Local 6 that there has been evidence for the past month that something big was paying visits to the trash.
Patricio Lapidote took the trash out Monday night.
"We found trash all over the place -- big trash bags," Lapidote said. "A raccoon wouldn't take it, it has to be something bigger."
But it wasn't until now that they knew for sure a bear was the culprit. School security cameras caught images of the bear walking toward the dumpsters.
School workers are using a metal wire as a temporary fix to keep out the hungry bear, but it apparently didn't work Tuesday morning.
The school notified the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and also bought locking dumpsters that will keep the bear and other animals out permanently. But until they arrive, school administrators are being proactive and warning staff and parents about the bear, along with a reminder of what to do in case you see one: Make loud noises and the bear will probably run away.