TV reporter under fire for school security story

  • Associated Press
  • December 13, 2013 - 2:09 PM

FARGO, N.D. — Police are investigating whether a Fargo-Moorhead TV journalist broke any laws while reporting a story aimed at revealing holes in elementary school security.

Valley News Live reporter Mellaney Moore on Wednesday walked around schools in Fargo and West Fargo in North Dakota and in Moorhead, Minn., without permission. Some school officials told the Forum newspaper that the TV report showed poor judgment and a disregard for rules.

"In the name of supposedly reporting a vulnerability, you're also advertising it for those that may not have known," West Fargo Schools Superintendent David Flowers said.

News director Ike Walker told The Forum newspaper and KFGO radio that the station stands by the story.

"We went inside three schools and walked around unabated. We walked in, and then we walked out," he said. "At no time did anyone ever stop us to challenge why we were there, and that raises a pretty significant security question."

Walker said his station was not aware of laws requiring school visitors to register with the main office. Violations are a misdemeanor. While Fargo police are not investigating, West Fargo and Moorhead police are.

"The concern we had was that they were specifically doing something that wasn't lawful," Moorhead Police Lt. Tory Jacobson told The Forum.

Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Schatz told The Forum that the TV reporter's disregard for the rules concerns him, but that her story also has prompted district officials to discuss school safety.

"Obviously, we're always concerned about security issues. We do a lot of things to try and make sure our schools are safe places for our kids," Schatz said. "The situation (Wednesday), some of the systems broke down, and we've got to address that."

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