Robbinsdale Area Schools officials are apologizing to families and reviewing district policies after three alleged incidents involving guns at schools last week sparked community outrage about the administration's handling of potential threats.
In one alleged incident in Golden Valley, a Sandburg Middle School student posted a social media video holding what appears to be a firearm in a school bathroom, local law enforcement and district officials confirmed.
Golden Valley Police Chief Virgil Green said he didn't learn about the incident until five days later, when he was contacted by news media.
In a statement last week, Green said school leaders' delay to involve law enforcement was a violation of state law.
The other two alleged incidents involving guns were reported at Robbinsdale Middle School, district officials said.
During Monday's school board meeting, local law enforcement and parents packed the room to voice concern and frustration over the lack of timely notification about weapons-related incidents in the schools.
During the regular meeting, Superintendent David Engstrom emphasized that no weapons were found on school property during any of last week's investigations by administrators.
Still, he said district leaders will work to improve how they respond to threats and allegations, despite the challenges of distinguishing serious threats from the "daily drumbeat of gun glorification."
"We're sad for the anxiety, fear and stress that these incidents have caused for students, for families and for staff," Engstrom said. "No one should have to go through this at a school, or at work, or at a church or at a nightclub on Saturday night."
"But this is America," he continued. "And every day people post photos and videos of themselves with firearms‚ even young people. Even students in our schools, even though no students should have access to firearms."
The school board met in a closed session to discuss the matter Monday evening.
In a statement Tuesday, School Board Chair Helen Bassett said the board has set a "clear path forward" after discussing the incidents and examining how administrators could've responded better.
"We are assured that district administrators will notify police immediately when there’s a report or suspicion of a gun, either at school or in the possession of a student," Bassett stated. "The district will also communicate with families and staff immediately about incidents involving guns."
Bassett also said they've identified district policies, practices and procedures that need review and clarification.
"During last night’s School Board meeting and community listening session, families and staff made their voices heard loud and clear," she wrote. "We take their concerns seriously, and we share them. On behalf of the school board, we apologize for the anxiety this entire situation caused for so many."