Mountain Lion Spotted Near Elementary School - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Mountain Lion Spotted Near Elementary School

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Reports of a mountain lion south of Bismarck causes one school to take extra precautions...

School officials say this is not an emergency but teachers want to ensure the students' safety.

Kids are being kept inside today at Prairie Rose Elementary School.

"We got a report that there was a mountain lion spotted last night, fairly close to the school and so in order to keep all the kids safe, which is our main job, we decided to keep them inside for recess today and if we had any students that were walking home that we would make arrangements for them to get a ride today," says Brenda Beiswenger, Principal at Prairie Rose Elementary.

The school sent messages to all parents Tuesday morning, letting them know about the possible mountain lion sighting and telling them to pick up their kids...

"Safety is our number one priority so we just want to make sure that we keep those kids safe even on their way home and it's possible that even tomorrow before school, just taking some precautionary measures to make sure those kids are safe," says Becky LaBella, Safety Coordinator, Facilities and Transportation.

The Burleigh County Sheriffs Department and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department are searching the area and investigating the reports. They say they've heard of several people who say they've seen a cat in the area south of Bismarck, but officials have yet to confirm the sightings.

"We're not too afraid of mountain lions. I mean, they're more scared of us than we are of them so we're not too worried about it but, yeah just being careful when we're outside," says Joseph DeRung, South Bismarck Resident.

In response to even the possibility of a mountain lion being near the school, Prairie Rose is taking action...

"We're doing a form of a shelter in place where we're not necessarily locking the doors or shutting the blinds or anything. But we are just keeping the kids inside the building for their safety," says LaBella.

Teachers and staff try to keep the day as normal as possible for the students so they don't get too nervous.

"Business is normal," says Beiswenger.

If you're a parent of a child that goes to Prairie Rose Elementary and have questions, you can call the school at 323-4280.

Officials will keep the school informed as the situation is resolved.

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