Incident at Bannach Elementary School leads to new safety protocols

On May 22nd a parent was buzzed into Bannach Elementary School saying he was dropping off shoes, but then he confronted a student
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 6:15 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - The Stevens Point Area School District will be making changes to its school security protocol following Monday’s incident at Bannach Elementary School where a parent confronted a student without the school being aware.

A parent was buzzed into the school and they said they were dropping off an item for the student. Administration staff gave them verbal acknowledgment to go inside, but they were not there to drop off an item. Instead, they went into two fifth-grade classrooms to confront a student on how they were acting to their child.

The incident has made other parents worry about their children and safety within the school. They received a message on Wednesday about what happened.

“This incident has exposed a major security flaw and the ability of an angry individual to enter a classroom. And again that’s very disturbing to me,” said Mike Copas, who has two children that are students at Bannach Elementary School. One of those students was in the classroom while the incident occurred. Copas feels that parents weren’t given enough information about when the incident first happened.

“I feel as though the school, or the school district, has kind of brushed the incident under the rug because they don’t want the negative publicity with it,” said Copas.

Chris Nyman, Stevens Point School District Assistant Superintendent, said he thinks that there were extreme interpretations of the parent’s exchange and stated they have no evidence to indicate the parent was threatening.

“However we certainly acknowledge that this was a safety concern. And we have taken this opportunity to review our safety measures and protocols in all of our buildings and across the district,” said Nyman.

Due to this incident, office staff will now greet the person at the door after confirming their intent of being in the building before providing them access. They will also keep all other external doors locked and closed at all times.

“You know of course one of my burning questions was why weren’t these procedures in place well prior to this incident. Because this could have had a much different outcome,” said Copas.

He said that while he doesn’t want the school to become a prison, “what happened there was unacceptable. I feel that this was an egregious breach of my trust as a parent,” said Copas.

Copas said that authorities should have been notified immediately when the incident happened. Police were called on Monday, but it’s unclear at what time exactly.

Parents hope to speak to the school board directly about this incident with a special meeting. Whether or not that will happen is still up in the air.