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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Young man “illegally” boards school bus

On March 4, a 20-year-old male impersonating a high school student boarded a school bus bound for Falcon High School in Falcon School District 49. Dave Watson, the districtís safety and emergency coordinator said the man rode the school bus but was stopped within four minutes of entering the building.According to an email sent to Falcon High School and Falcon Middle School parents, ìA school administrator escorted him (the young man) to the front office, where it was determined he had entered school property without authorization.îThe El Paso County Sheriffís Office took the man into custody, and Watson said he could face charges for violating the schoolís visitorsí policy.Dustin Senger, acting public information officer for D 49, said the email was sent out as quickly as possible to let parents know about the incident and to inform them that no students or staff were harmed during the incident.ìSchool security is a top priority in District 49, as is keeping our parents informed about such situations,î Watson said. ìWeíll continue to reflect on and learn from attempts to compromise school or transportation security.îWatson said itís unclear why the man boarded the bus in the first place and that no weapons or drugs were found on his person once he was detained at FHS.ìWe share our community membersí concerns about how this young man got on our bus in the first place,î he said. ìAlmost all of our bus drivers will see a new student nearly every day. Student bus riders are required to have a pass, but weíve allowed some flexibility for new riders. Our bus drivers must manage a delicate balance between prioritizing the need to get students off a street corner and into a school, while ensuring only authorized individuals enter our buses and schools.îWatson said he didnít know at which stop the student got on the bus but the mistake could easily be made considering the mix of student ages in the district. ìHe looked like a student,î Watson said.Because of this event, the district is reviewing different procedures within the transportation department, Watson said. ìTheyíre (the transportation department) coordinating with me to determine the most appropriate changes for minimizing this situation from happening in the future.ìWe hope alerting our families underlines how everyone must stay involved in school security, and we hope our parents will continue to encourage their students to report any situation that looks suspicious to school staff or law enforcement.î

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