Emails show security concerns at Robbinsdale Area Schools were raised years ago

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Emails obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS shows there were security concerns expressed at Robbinsdale Area Schools long before three separate gun incidents at Robbinsdale Middle School and Sandburg Middle School earlier this month.

In March, Robbinsdale Armstrong High School Principal, Erick Norby, sent an email to Superintendent David Engstrom, listing 15 security concerns at the high school.

“Emergency lockdown button ‘Red’ does not work. Buttons located in three locations. None work and should make all doors release and go into lockdown mode,” wrote Norby.

Norby also said there were problems with security cameras, key cards and exterior doors that were unable to close.

“Many of these issues (cameras, key card access) have been continually addressed since 2018 and have yet to be addressed properly,” wrote Norby.  “We are one big situation away from potential serious problems. I am asking for help, planning and safety improvements immediately.”

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained another message from New Hope Police Chief, Tim Hoyt, whose concerns about security issues at Robbinsdale Cooper High School, with Superintendent Engstrom in December 2021.

Hoyt said a serious fight at Cooper highlighted some of his concerns which he shared with Engstrom.

“I want to implore the district to give him (the Cooper High School principal) more resources, security staff, equipment and working security cameras and software so they can safely continue to work with our school resource officers to ensure student safety,” wrote Hoyt.

A spokesperson for Robbinsdale Schools, Toya Stewart Downey, issued the following statement after 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS requested interviews with school district leaders:

“We will not participate in media interviews regarding this topic at this time. However, Robbinsdale-Armstrong High School Principal Erick Norby confirms that more than half the items on the list that you received have been addressed and corrected. The rest of the work is continuing and will continue until it’s complete. We are not able to share more with you because it could jeopardize our internal safety process.”