Published Online: February 1, 2005
Published in Print: February 2, 2005, as Minn. School Adds Security Following Trespass Incident

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Minn. School Adds Security Following Trespass Incident

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A Minnesota high school is taking steps to beef up security after a former student spent several weeks living in the building.

Stephen Degenaar, the principal of Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley, Minn., announced last week that the school was modifying its security plan following the arrest of a 21-year-old man who spent two to three weeks in the school.

Francisco Serrano, a former student at the 2,300-student school, was arrested on Jan. 14. He told authorities he was homeless and had returned to the building because he had fond memories of his time there during the 2002-03 school year.

Many residents and students in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district expressed sympathy for Mr. Serrano. He was questioned by immigration officials and pleaded guilty to a petty-misdemeanor charge of trespassing.

Mr. Degenaar said in an e-mail bulletin last week that administrators would provide additional building security during large events and some weekend and evening activities.

They also plan to install more security cameras and access-control doors at the school, which is undergoing some construction, and change the locks on many interior doors.

Tony Taschner, a communications specialist with the 28,000-student district, said that Mr. Serrano had helped a crew design sets for a play, but that it was unlikely he had appeared in classes during his time in the building.

“This is certainly unusual, but it’s not that hard to see how this could happen in any large, public building,” Mr. Taschner said.

PHOTO: Students at Apple Valley High School prepare to hand out T-shirts in sympathy for a homeless man found this month living in their Minnesota school.
—Janet Hostetter/AP

Vol. 24, Issue 21, Page 4

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