Lakeville parents upset by school’s late notice of masked man on school grounds

  • Article by: Erin Adler
  • Star Tribune
  • June 11, 2014 - 1:33 PM

Parents are upset about the way officials reacted when a partly masked man armed with knives turned up at Lakeville North High School, claiming he was just trying to test security precautions. The schools agree they could have “done better.”

A week and a half later, he was seen near Oak Hills Elementary, though he didn’t venture onto school grounds.

It wasn’t until two weeks after the first incident — on June 5, the last day of school — parents received an e-mail about the incident.

“I would have wanted to know at the end of the school day,” said Christen Steidl, who has two kids at Oak Hills. “I understand, you can’t help crazy … [but] communication needs to be more important.”

The note informed them there had been a security issue at the high school but that district officials had worked closely with police, who determined the man was not a threat.

Some parents were upset, said Linda Swanson, district spokeswoman, saying they wished they had been told immediately about the May incident. She added: “Could we have done better? Absolutely. Are we going to look at it? Absolutely.”

But there’s a fine line between communicating and alarming people needlessly, she said. Staff who spotted the man did what they were supposed to do and called 911, she said, and from then on, it was a police matter.

“It’s just really important for people to know we didn’t disregard (an actual threat),” she said.

After the incident, the district issued a “no-trespassing” order, said Swanson. The man, Michael Adrian, is now in jail on other charges, according to Dakota County officials.

Lakeville Police Chief Jeff Long said in a statement that “At no time was anyone’s safety in danger” and to “Keep in mind that not all actions and behavior have evil intent.”

Long said that Adrian, a veteran, was certainly guilty of showing poor judgment. However, he actually believed he was helping the school and police by demonstrating that school security was lax.

‘Testing security’

On May 22, Adrian was spotted on a skateboard in the high school parking lot, wearing camouflage and two bandannas — one covering his lower face and one on his head, according to a criminal complaint.

School staff confronted him. Adrian said he was glad they were employees because “he had been hanging around in the parking lot for the past 10 minutes waiting for someone to stop him,” according to the complaint. The women then called Lakeville police.

When police arrived, Adrian had left school grounds. He was “verbally uncooperative” and police saw “a lot of different items bulging from his pockets.” That included three sharp knives, a pocket knife, a box cutter, a slingshot, pepper spray and a rock, according to the complaint. He “stated that he was ‘trying to test security by looking like an [expletive],’ ’’ according to the complaint, using a vulgar term for a disgusting, obviously suspicious person.

Adrian, of Apple Valley, was charged with possessing a dangerous weapon on school property, and taken to jail. He has several charges dating from 2007, including possession of marijuana and a switchblade.

Less than two weeks later, Adrian was seen near Oak Hills Elementary, though he never went on school property. An internal staff e-mail was issued after that sighting, along with a picture of Adrian.

Erin Adler • 612-673-4000

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