Bear Sighting Puts Two Connecticut Schools in Emergency Mode

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March 1, 2017

A bear spotting forced two Connecticut schools into emergency "Secure School Modes," according to Hartford's Eyewitness News 3.

Police were brought in to assist in the situation by the school district's superintendent Tim Connellan, as neither DePaolo Middle School or Hatton Elementary School had the resources available to deal with the situation. The school's were informed that they could resume normal operations after police determined that the bear was moving "away from any of any schools."

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was widely criticized when during her confirmation hearing she was challenged by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy (D.) whether guns should be allowed "in or around schools," and she posited that some schools in remote locations such as Wyoming may need to have firearms to protect against potential bear attacks.

"I would imagine that there's probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies," DeVos said in reference to a Wyoming elementary school that erected a fence to protect children from wildlife.

The comment was seized on during the fight against DeVos so much that the term "potential grizzlies" ended up trending on Twitter, according to NBC News. DeVos even ended up being the target of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah joking that it would make more sense for schools to have bears to protect kids from people with guns.

Just days after the hearing, Washington, D.C., schools cancelled recess due to fears that the National Zoo had lost a bobcat. The bobcat was found after just two days on zoo property.

DeVos was confirmed as education secretary last month without the vote of either of Connecticut's senators.