Police respond to West, Dakota Meadows incidents; Soft lockdown imposed

·2 min read

Oct. 6—MANKATO — One of multiple police calls to Dakota Meadows Middle School prompted a soft lockdown Tuesday. Police meanwhile are continuing to investigate an incident involving pepper spray outside West High School.

Dakota Meadows parents received a letter from Principal Carmen Daniels-Molter Tuesday evening telling them a "shelter in place" was used "when a student situation was being addressed by staff and administration."

North Mankato Police Chief Ross Gullickson said officers were called to the school at 12:40 p.m. for a student who had returned after being suspended and trespassed from the building. The student was found and arrested.

There was no assault or injury and it was not related to any TikTok challenge, Gullickson said in response to social media rumors.

Police also were called back to the school around 3 p.m. and found two children who were refusing to go home with a parent because they wanted to take the bus instead. School staff ultimately handled that incident, the chief said.

Police also were called to the school Wednesday regarding a disagreement in a lunch line Tuesday. That disturbance is still under investigation, but Gullickson classified it as a disorderly conduct incident that might have included a minor assault.

It's unclear which incident prompted the "shelter in place," during which students and staff were kept in their classroom or other current location.

A district spokesperson declined to provide any further information about the "shelter in place" or what prompted it.

"At this time the incident is still under investigation. I will share appropriate information when that has been completed," Director of Communications Stacy Wells said.

The letter sent to Dakota Meadows parents said a "shelter in place" is used during "non-crisis incidents" and "children and staff who are not involved in the situation remain in their classrooms and learning continues."

In social media posts some parents said their children told them their class believed it was an emergency lockdown. One parent described her child being "terrified" as students gathered in the corner of a classroom with the door locked and the lights off.

The Mankato Department of Public Safety is meanwhile investigating an unrelated call outside West High School Friday night.

Multiple people were hit with pepper spray, according to Associate Director of Public Safety Dan Schisel. Some people were treated by paramedics at the scene but no one went to the hospital, he said.

The incident occurred on school grounds during the homecoming football game, but outside of the stadium.

Witness interviews are still being conducted and no arrests have been made.

"We're working with the school district to identify and hold accountable individuals involved in this incident," Schisel said.

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