A bear pays a visit to the Hammond High Bears.

We usually think of bears as either super cuddly stuffed animals or fierce beasts. Black bears typically hang out by themselves in the forest -- except for one particularly brave guy who ventured near a Columbia, Maryland, high school on November 14.

When reports of a black bear sighting near Hammond High School came in, the school decided to go on modified lockdown. I guess Hammond High prefers the golden bear (what their mascot is actually named for), which is a now-extinct species of brown bear and a legendary icon. Classes continued as they normally would, but students and teachers were not allowed to leave the premises.

The scariest thing about seeing a black bear is probably that you usually don't see them. Generally, they are the smallest of the omnivorous bears that inhabit North America. As they're on the move to hibernate in western Maryland, more and more black bears have been spotted in counties near Baltimore, like Howard County. But this bear kept up a pretty decent pace: Natural Resources police searched the area surrounding Hammond High and reported back to the principal that they were unable to locate said bear.

Apparently, bear sightings are so prominent in this area that Hammond Middle School even has a specific safety plan dedicated to it. On September 13 of this year, Patch reported that the "school will contact 911, recess will be limited, and so will movement from portable classrooms. In addition, students will be advised to avoid isolated wooded areas."

Sorry, kids. I guess black bear sightings aren't enough to cancel school these days. But maybe if it were a grizzly ...

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