Broken Arrow schools responds to parent complaints about communication after high school incident


By John Dobberstein, Editor

For the second time this year, a stranger was able to walk into a Broken Arrow school and get access to students and teachers before security officers or police could respond.

On Monday at about 9:30 a.m., an unidentified young male came onto the Broken Arrow High School campus – “at a time of transition for our students who are enrolled in concurrent programs off campus,” the district said in a statement.

The young man went into a classroom and spoke with a teacher, but that teacher did not report it as harassment, the district said. Media reports stated the student was trying to ask the teacher out.

“Given the young man's age she at first thought he was a student. When it was understood that he was not a Broken Arrow student, the site administrative team was notified, and the responding principal called the security team,” the statement said. “Within just a few moments of speaking to the teacher the young man left the building and drove off campus.

“Our security team was able to confirm this by watching the footage from our cameras, and because our staff followed the safety procedures we practice for instances like this, we were able to respond quickly.”

Some parents expressed frustration about the incident due to not being notified. The school district said its practice is to communicate with parents “when there is an issue involving a credible threat, an arrest or weapon on campus.

“Since none of those issues were present in this case, no communication was sent. The young man's behavior was odd, but at this point we have no reason to believe a credible threat exists.”

BAPS did not immediately respond to follow-up questions sent Thursday.

In March, Sequoyah Middle School in Broken Arrow was locked down for a period after an intruder entered the building. Police responded for a reported intruder on campus and school staff followed district protocol, locking down the school.

Officers arrived made contact an adult female in the parking lot of the school. School staff said the suspect entered the building and had brief interactions with a few students. She was confronted by school staff, who were successful in escorting her from the building prior to officers’ contact.

The suspect appeared to be suffering a mental health crisis and was taken to a local facility for evaluation.

The Broken Arrow Public Schools announced in August that it would add more security guards for the district "as part of a long-term safety plan."

BAPS planned to add 6 additional security guards, for a total of 14, for school sites. The guards will supplement four school resource officers who are employed by the Broken Arrow Police Department.

“The district is consistently reviewing and evaluating safety procedures in cooperation with the Broken Arrow Police Department and other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies,” Executive Director of Student Personnel Services Derek Blackburn said. “Previously, we’ve hired additional guards as funding has allowed, but in the wake of national events, we are accelerating our plan to hire more security for the new school year.”

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