CHAMPLIN, Minn. - The principal at Champlin Park High School says the school is re-examining its security measures. It comes after a 42-year-old man got inside the school Wednesday, and according to police, engaged in sexual acts with a student.
No charges have been filed against the man, but a decision on that is expected on Friday.
Details are limited as to what allegedly happened, but the district believes the man and student pre-arranged to meet at the school and misled staff about why he was there.
It is KARE 11's policy not to name the suspect in this case because he has not been charged with any crime.
The Brooklyn Park Police Department will hold a press conference with updates on its investigation, Friday afternoon.
Kay Villella, a spokesperson for Anoka-Hennepin Schools said in order to get into the school, visitors can only have access through a locked entryway by swiping their ID. They must check into a station desk and state the purpose for their visit. In addition, they must go to a designated office and check in again. She added that all outside doors are locked during the school day, except for the main door during lunch. There is a staff member at a desk near the door at all hours of the school day.
The district says it has had this system in place since the 2013-2014 school year. It spent $2 million to install systems in all of its schools.
A notification to parents reads:
This is principal Mike George with some follow-up information for CPHS families.
As you know, we had an incident here at school yesterday involving a man who had no connection to the school. I wanted to give you an update about the incident, and what we're doing as a follow up.
First, I know I speak on behalf of our entire CPHS family when I say thank you for your support and encouragement.
That said, I know there are questions and concerns. As a parent of child
in our school district, one who will be joining the CPHS family next year, I understand how you feel.
Due to privacy laws related to student data, and because the incident is a law enforcement matter with an ongoing investigation, there's only so much I can discuss. What I can share is our preliminary investigation has determined a student and the suspect collaborated to meet, and were deceptive with their intention regarding the purpose of the suspect’s visit.
If you've entered our school during the school day, you know that we have very specific security measures in place. The reason they are is because we’re serious about protecting the safety and security of our CPHS family.
Visitors to the school, whether they’re parents and guardians or members of the community, cannot access the building without checking in and stating the purpose of their visit. This standard remains in place. In response to what we’ve learned from yesterday’s events, visitors may be escorted to their designated location. We’ll try to maintain our family-friendly feel, however visitors will notice a change moving forward. We’ll also be reviewing our long-term security measures with our partners from the Brooklyn Park Police Department to identify the need for any additional actions.
Thank you for your continued support. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions and concerns at 763-506-6800.
This incident brings up the ongoing issue of school security, which is something districts such as Bloomington Public Schools continues to address.
"Parents and the community wanted more safe schools," said Rick Kaufman, executive director of community relations and emergency management for the district. He was a crisis team leader during the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.
In 2013, he said a referendum passed for a 10 year, $10 million investment into security.
Last summer, the district finished retrofitting all 17 of its school entrances. Now visitors can only access schools through a main office, they must give a reason for the visit, sign in and wear a badge.
"You're just trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys," said Kaufman. He noted that security in schools is a balance between protecting students and staff and making schools a welcoming place for the public.
The district also does ongoing training for staff and next, it's adding ID checks.
"You’re just trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and so you’re putting in safety and security measures that improve the opportunities to protect students and staff to buy some time for law enforcement to get to that facility as quick as an opportunity as possible so we limit the potential loss of life or damage to property or others in the building," said Kaufman.