Andersen Elementary Parents Tell School Board Threats, Intimidation Are Rampant

March 12, 2018 10:24 PM

Parents have told the Stillwater School Board that students and teachers have been threatened or have experienced "intimidating" behavior at every grade level from multiple students at Andersen Elementary School in Bayport.

Parents spoke on the record to the full Stillwater School Board last Thursday, expressing frustration their concerns have not been addressed. Some said they have "repeatedly reported" threats and intimidation to Andersen administrators since last September.


One parent told school board members his daughter started the the school year excited to attend, but by the middle of the year had grown fearful and had anxiety after witnessing multiple instances of violence carried out by students against other students and teachers.

RELATED: Mental Health Moves to Forefront in Stillwater Schools

"There was one incident that caused her entire classroom to evacuate to another area of the building," the parent said. "This child got into a physical altercation with another student, and then ran through the school while staff members tried to reach him. And he ultimately threatened to kill his classmates."

That same parent questioned school board members about what he said was a lack of professional staff available to help teachers in those instances.

"Teachers and (substitute teachers) have faced vulgar, verbal attacks, and my daughter told us a classmate brought a screwdriver one day and chased kids, threatening to kill them," the parent said. "Why is mental health and behavior not being made a priority at Andersen, and why are teachers being told there is no money?"

Another parent told the school board his child and many others had been in similar situations across every grade level at Andersen.

"I want you to understand there are dozens of parents who are involved in this who have these exact same experiences," the parent said. "This is not a minor issue. It is severe. It is important, and it is impacting our children's education, their learning and their safety."

Andersen administrators and Stillwater School District leaders did not respond to KSTP about a planned Monday meeting with parents, but Superintendent Denise Pontrelli did send an email to Andersen parents about the issues they raised.

RELATED: Stillwater School District Emails Lay Out Final Discussions of School Closings

Pontrelli's email said, in part, "We've heard your frustrations, concerns and fears. Every day, we now have school counselors, or social workers, on site, and additional paraprofessionals to support students and district administrators and other elementary principals to provide support at Andersen when needed."

Andersen parents said the Monday meeting with school district leaders was a small group gathering, but that a larger meeting with parents is planned for Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. at the school.


Jay Kolls

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