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Update on Safety Incidents and the Investigation

Special Education 6425 Update to Families (Jan. 25)

High School Families,

In this special edition of the 6425, I would like to provide you with an update on our week so far and emphasize our ongoing commitment to fostering a strong and safe learning environment through community building and high expectations.

I am pleased to report that our high school has experienced a smooth and tranquil week, even amidst the attention on our community and the added pressure of finals. I want to express my admiration for our students' exemplary display of respect, maturity, kindness, and patience. Our dedicated staff members have also played a crucial role by demonstrating flexibility, attentiveness, and unwavering support for our students.

As we look ahead to the coming week, we will gradually transition back to our regular schedule. The Block Schedule will continue through next Tuesday, January 30, allowing both students and staff to maintain the sense of community we have fostered around our shared priorities. It remains our collective duty to consistently adhere to the practices, schedules, and routines that have proven effective in supporting student academic and behavioral success. Conversations with students regarding expectations, accountability, and a recommitment to the guidelines outlined in our Student Handbook will continue in our community building spaces.

We deeply appreciate the outpouring of support from the community following recent incidents. It is evident that our community and schools are held in high regard. I want to reiterate that the safest place for our students is in the classroom, focused on their learning. We extend our gratitude to our families for consistently emphasizing the importance of this to their students.

Together, we will continue to center our sense of community and recognize the humanity in each individual as we move forward in a productive manner. Thank you for your unwavering support.

Sincerely,

LaNisha Paddock
Principal


6425 Update to Families (Jan. 22)

High School Families,

I am writing to provide an update on today's activities. First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for your support, patience, and understanding throughout the past few days. Our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students and staff remains unwavering.

I am pleased to report that today was a smooth and successful day. The hallways were calm, students demonstrated respect, and our staff were attentive, ensuring that everything ran smoothly. It was a testament to the resilience and maturity of our school community.

I want to extend my appreciation to the St. Louis Park Police Department for their partnership and the extra presence on our campus. Their collaboration with us has been invaluable, and we are grateful for their ongoing support in maintaining a safe school environment. Tomorrow we will continue to have additional police presence inside and outside of the high school. 

As we embark on finals week, it is essential to remember that our primary focus is to help our students feel safe, prepared, and ready to excel academically. We are dedicated to continuing our efforts to create a positive and secure learning environment for all. 

I want to reiterate that the safest place for students is in the classroom focused on learning. It is our collective responsibility as staff, parents and caregivers, and students to consistently adhere to the practices we know work to support student academic and behavior success. After the finals block schedule concludes at the end of the week, we will return to our regular schedule and routines. We ask adults to review these important expectations outlined in our student handbook to ensure students are attentive to them for the remainder of the school year:

  • Be in class on time and stay focused on learning.  
  • Student IDs must be readily available at all times. 
  • Every student in the hallway during class time must have a pass, no exceptions.
  • Plan bathroom breaks during passing time.
  • Eat during your assigned lunch time and go to class directly after lunch.
  • All students, staff, and visitors must use Door 1 during school hours, which is monitored throughout the day.
  • If you see or hear about a potential safety concern, share it with an adult.
  • Responsible use of cell phones, for example in a backpack, purse, or pocket. 
  • When a safety incident does occur, students should remain in classrooms and keep a safe distance rather than gathering in hallways, obstructing the response, or filming.  

I appreciate the messages I’ve received from parents who expressed care and support of our school community throughout this situation. I also want to acknowledge the concerns of some parents who felt our actions were not severe enough. I understand Dr. Kate Maguire, interim superintendent, will share remarks about the state of school safety at this Tuesday’s 6:30 p.m. school board meeting, which you are welcome to attend or watch live on Youtube

Thank you once again for your unwavering support, and we look forward to a successful and productive finals week.

Sincerely,
LaNisha Paddock
Principal


 

Update on Safety Incidents and the Investigation (Jan. 20)

St. Louis Park High School Families,

I am writing to update you on the recent safety incidents that occurred at our high school and to inform you of the measures we are taking to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff when school resumes on Monday.

On Friday, the high school staff came together to discuss the impact of the safety incidents and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and caring environment for all in our school community. Our goal this week is to reestablish a sense of structure and routine, with a focus on maximizing instructional time for our students and minimizing hallway movement. More specifically, students and families can expect the follow safety and support measures next week:

  • Increased Police Presence: There will be an increased police presence both inside and outside of the high school, including additional Juvenile Resource Officers during school hours on Monday. Police will be visible in areas supporting the school where students often gather. Use the Main Entrance (Door 1): Door 1 is the only door that can be used during school hours (8:25 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.) PSEO students should use door 1 to leave/enter school.
  • Administrative Presence: There will be increased presence of administration from across the district at the high school, creating additional active supervision of students. 
  • Closed Campus for Lunch: The campus will be closed for lunch. Food deliveries are not permitted as outlined in our student handbook. Students must bring their own lunch or opt for our free cold lunch provided at school.
  • Finals Block Schedule: We will implement a finals block schedule for next week. View the schedule.
  • Student Support: Social workers will be available to support students who wish to process the events of last week.

Update on Safety Incidents and the Investigation
We are committed to transparency and providing information to families about safety incidents while respecting data privacy laws. 

In the coming days, the school district will complete its investigation. In addition, we will continue to collaborate with and aid St. Louis Park police in their investigation, which includes gathering video footage and interviewing staff and students. The individuals arrested after the incidents have also received a notice of trespass and are not allowed on school property.

If your student has video footage of the incident(s), the police department requests that you provide it to them by emailing pdrecords@stlouisparkmn.gov.

I can assure you that we have taken swift action to hold participants accountable for their disruptive behavior. While we cannot share specific details about the consequences related to Thursday's incidents, we follow district policy and state law, and appropriate consequences are applied based on each individual's involvement in the incident(s). Consequences for these types of incidents can range from daily dismissal and suspension to expulsion. 

I also want to reiterate our belief as a school community in the potential for growth and positive change in all of our students. Together, as adults and students, we must center our sense of community and the humanity of all to move forward in productive ways. 

While safety incidents are not an everyday occurance, we do need to be prepared for them. We encourage families to have conversations about school safety and remember that the safest place for students is in the classroom. When a safety incident does occur, students should remain in classrooms and keep a safe distance rather than gathering in hallways, obstructing the response, or filming.  

We recognize the concerns and emotions that last week’s events may have raised, and we are committed to working together to ensure the safety and well-being of our entire school community. 

We appreciate your ongoing support and cooperation as we navigate through this challenging situation. Families can stay informed about the incidents at the high school here.

Sincerely,
LaNisha Paddock
Principal


High School canceled for students on Friday, Jan. 19 (Jan. 18)

Due to our need to investigate safety incidents from today and plan for a safe return to school beginning next week, we will cancel school tomorrow, Fri. Jan. 19. for students. 

The high school will be closed to students, families and the public tomorrow. All on-site activities are also canceled, including the girls basketball game and high school athletic practices. 

School is canceled tomorrow to give staff the time needed to thoroughly investigate today’s safety incidents, collaborate with police, and prepare plans for a safe return to school next week. Police have already made arrests related to today’s incidents. All other schools in the district will hold school as usual. 

Information about the safety incidents
At the end of the day today, an incident occurred involving two groups of students that resulted in a physical altercation. Teachers and staff immediately took action to respond to the situation.

Unfortunately, the situation escalated further at the end of the school day when adults (not SLP employees), who were aware of the earlier altercation, became involved in another physical altercation with some of the students. We want to emphasize that staff and on-site police immediately responded to the situation to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Some students and staff sustained minor injuries, including scrapes and bruises, and were seen by the school nurse. Two adults were arrested by police.

As of now, there is no confirmation about the involvement of weapons in either altercation. We are actively gathering information and working closely with law enforcement to understand the full scope of these incidents, including whether or not the incidents were racially motivated. 

We have counselors available to support students to process what happened today. Please call a school administrator if you feel your student would benefit from this type of support. 

We will continue to communicate with families as we learn more about today’s altercations and ensure additional layers of safety when students return to school next week. We will communicate once we have another update to share.