Meeting Discusses Safety Concerns at Farnsworth Middle School in St. Paul

Updated: 12/16/2013 4:26 PM By: Beth McDonough

Safety concerns are being raised at an east St. Paul school, after reports of recent violence on campus.

It's hard for Julia Roth to hear that her 8th grade son doesn't want to go to school at Farnsworth Aerospace Middle School. It's even harder to convince Matthew that his school, located at 1000 Walsh Street, is a safe place to be, "I worry about my kids safety, is it time to pull him out?" wonders Roth.

St. Paul Police tell KSTP there have been reports of a gun in school, stabbing, assault and harassment.  That's only in the past month. 

Since the first of the year, there have been even more complaints, 90 so far, according to police. While officers tell us it’s on the low end for school violence calls, Roth sees it differently, "wow, I didn't know that."

We obtained a letter sent to school leaders and district administrators. Concerned staff anonymously shared serious safety issues they claim make the campus more dangerous. Recent staff meetings have been canceled and there's been no opportunity to express fears.

John Uptown has a daughter in 8th grade, "the school district in my view has done the best they can." He says every time something has happened at Farnsworth, he's heard about it in emails from the district.  That includes a letter from the Assistant Superintendent, who pointed out safety concerns about the way things were handled, requesting an investigation and all staff to be retrained.

The school has a secure entrance; you must have an access card or be buzzed in. There's one security guard and police backup was recently added. Uptown asks, "you want to post a guard at every door, start telling kids to lock themselves in classrooms, how far do you want to take it?" 

The district confirms the student who brought the gun to school in November was expelled and later arrested. 

A public meeting will be held Monday at 6 p.m. at Farnsworth Aerospace.