Trespasser prompts heightened security measures at Mountlake Terrace High School

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Mountlake Terrace High School has instituted new security measures as a result of trespasser incidents.
Mountlake Terrace High School has instituted new security measures as a result of trespasser incidents.

New security measures have been implemented after a man trespassed on campus on March 18, according to Principal Greg Schwab.

The man who trespassed was in his mid-30s and entered campus through the front doors before he walked down the HUB, Schwab said.

Schwab said he followed the man down to the HUB and asked the man what his purpose for being on campus was.

“I asked him questions about why he was here and it was a very interesting conversation that I had with him about a whole variety of just really random topics,” Schwab said. “Clearly he was a guy who shouldn’t have been here. So we contacted 911 and had him picked up for criminal trespassing at that point.”

As a result of this incident and other incidents of trespassers on campus this year, administrators are implementing additional campus security measures.

“For me (the recent trespassing incident) heightened the larger concern that I think we all have about our building security,” Schwab said. “We have been used to for a lot of years being comfortable with having doors opened and we have a pretty open building, and not that I want to see that change, but I think we have an obligation to make some changes.”

Schwab highlighted two other incidents of trespassers gaining access to the building this year.

In October, a man caused “quite a scene” when he walked onto campus after school hours, Schwab said.

More recently, a former student walked onto campus during school hours and stole food from the cafeteria.

“There have been enough of these instances this year that I think we have to step our security game up,” Schwab said.

All doors other than the doors in the HUB and the front doors will now remain locked all day. Also, campus security personnel will be posted at the entrance to the school during school hours.

“I want to be greeting people as they come in the building and I want to know who’s coming into our building and I want to know where they’re going,” Schwab said.

Schwab pointed to security concerns posed by the dozens of entry points to the campus, as opposed to other schools where all visitors pass through the main office area before gaining entry to the building.

“It’s a design flaw of the building that we don’t have people coming in through the main office,” Schwab said.

By Nick Fiorillo

This story first appeared in the Hawkeye

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