Man walks into NJ school, goes into restrooms — prompts more security
FRANKLIN BOROUGH — A security breach at the Franklin Borough School prompted district officials to make sweeping changes to security protocols the next day.
Chief school administrator John Giacchi posted a letter on the school's Facebook page on Monday about the incident, which involved an "unfamiliar person" seen in the building after dismissal. Police were called to the scene, including the Morris County K-9 Unit to do a sweep of the building. But after reviewing surveillance footage it was determined that the person had already left, Giacchi said.
"The safety and security of the students and staff has been, and will remain the top priority at Franklin School," Giacchi said in the letter. "This event is extremely unsettling and I assure you that all necessary precautions will be taken to prevent a similar occurrence in the future."
A news release from the borough police confirmed that a man, identified as 20-year-old Ogdensburg resident Alex J. Thebold, had entered the building through a side door. Thebold then walked through the building for around 30 minutes, including going into multiple bathrooms before leaving. Police are unsure why he went into the bathrooms, but determined there was "no apparent malicious intent." He was not charged with any crime.
Late Wednesday night the district posted updated security protocols, which are being put in place in conjunction with the police department. The changes being made include:
- Exits during dismissal are now limited to those that have a teacher on duty.
- Students and staff were reminded of the importance of not allowing any individual entry into the school building.
- Students and staff were encouraged to report any unknown or suspicious person in or around the school building to the administration or police department.
In his letter, Giacchi encouraged parents to talk to their children about the importance of a safe school environment, including making sure the building's doors are properly closed to ensure nobody gets in that shouldn't be there.
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