USD 383 Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid addresses school board members Wednesday evening about recent security incidents at Manhattan High and Anthony Middle Schools. Also pictured (at left) Director of Communications and School Safety Michele Jones; (at right) board members Christine Weixelman and Brandy Santos. (Photo by Brandon Peoples)
From left to right: USD 383 Board Vice President Jayme Morris-Hardeman, Board President Karla Hagemeister and Superintendent Marvin Wade (Photo by Brandon Peoples)

More details were shared Wednesday evening at a special USD 383 school board meeting ahead of the board’s annual winter retreat, regarding security incidents that occurred last week at Anthony Middle School and Manhattan High School.

USD 383 Superintendent Marvin Wade says at Anthony, an unauthorized entry occurred Thursday when a staff member was greeting students coming into the building. Some students came around that area and an individual came in with his hoodie pulled up, and walked into the building.

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The individual, later identified by police as 22-year-old Samuel Osenga, was issued a no trespass for all district buildings. He was arrested after showing up later that day at Amanda Arnold Elementary, getting no further than the building’s front office.

Actions taken afterward at Anthony included lessening the amount of available entrances at that time and having more staff available at those entrances. Assistant Superintendent Eric Reid says administration is also challenging other buildings to review their practices.

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Board member Brandy Santos commented she was proud of the quick response of staff, who noticed the man within less than a minute and intervened, removing him from the building quickly.

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Manhattan High School was placed on lockdown Friday after a picture of a graffiti message inside a boys bathroom got amplified on social media, swirling rumors of a potential threat to a pep rally ahead of basketball games that evening. Reid says that led staff to do a controlled release of students out of an abundance of caution.

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RCPD had 22 officers on campus during the Friday incident.

Additionally, a third incident was highlighted briefly at the meeting regarding a situation at Eisenhower Middle School, that involved a driver striking a limestone post at the nearby baseball fields. Reid says somehow word spread that there was an accident and someone had been running toward the school, a claim that was found to be inaccurate.

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Both incidents at the two middle schools were handled by staff, despite the absence of principals in both buildings last week. Reid says in the days since, he’s been challenging district buildings to review security protocols. He says safety is at the top of their priority list.

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Administrators and board members praised the partnership of RCPD and Director of Communications and School Safety Michele Jones, who pushed out messaging to parents and the public through several avenues, including e-mail and social media.

While some delays were noted in the speed of the message getting out in each instance, district staff praised the board’s recent approval of its new inter-district messaging platform ParentSquare. The district plans to pilot the program at two schools this spring, before a full launch in the fall. The board in December approved the purchase of the new platform at a cost of $40,800. It will replace the district’s current Infinite Campus platform.

The school board, which met for 40 minutes on the topic, is planning to continue safety and security discussions at its March 1 board meeting.

The retreat Thursday included a deeper dive into graduation requirements for students that will be implemented over the course of the next five years.