Police say 42-year-old Curtis Stevenson, a non-compliant sex offender, was let into Talent Middle School by a student after posing as a “dad” looking for his son.
While he made no contact with students, the district is upping its security measure this school year. Not only will there be special training for staff and students, a fence will be installed around the school perimeter.
“Additional fencing around the perimeter of the building cause that campus has been pretty exposed,” Brent Barry, Phoenix-Talent School District superintendent, said.
The fence is expected to be up before students arrive on Sept. 3.
“We reached out to neighbors and shared our plan earlier in the month and then had a listening session with the neighbors and a lot of good communication and came out of that. Some concerns were addressed,” Barry said.
However, some neighbors say they will lose access to their back lots.
“I understand that they feel like this, they want to protect the kids and this is one of the ways that they feel they can, the school,” Zhavanya Leib, resident, said.
Many use that part of their property to store RVs and other vehicles. While the fence won’t affect Leib’s backyard, she says for others, the fence won’t allow cars through to reach their properties.
“We’re just asking to have access to our homes. We’re not asking you to not put in a fence. We understand that you want to put in a fence because that gives you the illusion of security,” Leib said.
The district says plans do include a walking path. However, the fence isn’t the only safety measure being put in place.
“We’ve also done some physical upgrades to make sure there is one clear entry, entrance to the building,” Barry said.
Visitors will have check in at the front office and wear a name tag. Staff and students will also be given training to not let anyone into the building, along with additional signage.
“Safety is obviously our number one priority and we want students to feel safe. We want families to feel safe sending their students to our campuses,” Barry said.
The middle school will still have a part-time resource officer assigned to the school.
Anna Weeks is a multimedia journalist for NBC5 News. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a degree in Digital Communication Arts and a minor in writing. Previously, she interned with the National Association of Broadcasters at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
Originally from the Portland area, Anna is excited to explore Southern Oregon. In her free time, she can be found reading, running or watching sports.