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School cop for Waubun?

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news Detroit Lakes, 56501

Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

With online social networking increasing in popularity among teenagers, school districts don't have the ability to monitor profiles 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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And with families calling up school officials with possible bullying tips, districts sometimes need to get law enforcement involved.

Waubun-Ogema-White Earth Superintendent Mitch Anderson said a school officer available for those issues would benefit the schools.

"With everything kind of changing as far as cyber bullying and some of the social networks ... some of that is out of the district's control," Anderson said.

A decision to hire a full-time police officer is pending school board approval, but so far the Mahnomen County Sheriff's Office is interested in collaborating with the district.

Anderson said it would be a win-win situation especially when counties all over the state are cutting budgets and staff.

The district currently has a contract with a K9 unit that visits Waubun Secondary School randomly nine times a year. The unit goes through the parking lot checking vehicles and hallways checking lockers for guns, ammunition, tobacco, drugs or alcohol.

"I think we can probably still get some of the K9 issues, maybe not as many visits," Anderson said, "but having a full-time police officer on campus is definitely gonna be more of an advantage."

The district's budget allows for a full-time liaison officer who could be added to the staff as soon as the beginning of spring semester.

The police officer would help with lockdown measures, evacuations and any other problems that come up.

Earlier this year, the science lab had some chemicals that were passed age recommendation, which called for an evacuation of Waubun school, Anderson said.

Law enforcement sent a bomb squad over to the school to remove the chemicals, while school officials ran the evacuation as a drill, he added.

"It was good practice for us to practice that anyway," Anderson said.

In October, the school went into a lockdown mode when a parent suspected his son brought a gun to the school. The weapon was later found in the basement of the parent's home.

"It ended up being a real innocent thing," Anderson said, adding that an officer would help coordinate those procedures.

"We certainly don't want it to be an intimidating presence waiting for a fight to break out," he said.

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