They arrived two hours before the school bell could ring, fortunately. The herd trampled down the fence and marched into the campus of Inventure Academy on Whitefield–Sarjapur Road around 6.30 a.m. Monday and stayed put for an hour.

Fortunately, none of the 850 students — right from prekindergarten to Class 12 — had come. They were all still on their way or were waiting to be picked up by school buses.

On seeing the 13 or so wild elephants, the alarmed staff called the management, which alerted the teachers assigned to each school van about the situation on the campus. The teachers asked the vans to turn around and drop the children back home.

“We declared a holiday for school,” said Nooraine Fazal, chief executive officer and co-founder of Inventure Academy.

“The herd broke down one of the grilled fences and came in,” Mohan Kumar, school security supervisor, told The Hindu.

“The forest officials told us not to chase them away and keep them on the school property because it’s spacious enough,” Ms. Fazal said.

The forest authorities had planned to lead the elephants into the forests from there. “But people around the area started bursting crackers and chasing the elephants. If you let elephants be, they will remain peaceful. This was a great learning experience for us,” Ms. Fazal said.

As this was the first time such a thing happened on campus, she said, “We have to remain vigilant if this is to happen in the future, because if elephants want to break a wall down, they can very easily do it.”

Meanwhile, most of the local schools in and around the Huskur area, where the wild elephants had strayed, functioned as usual. Sources said that most had started by the time word about the elephants spread. Schools closed their gates and went about their classes.

“We heard about elephants injuring people,” said Pawan, C., a Class 7 student of the government school at Ramsagara, two km from Huskur. “After classes, we heard the crackers and came to see what was happening,” said Chetan, his classmate.

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