Police: Man with dog enters Mount Vernon elementary school, sparking security concerns from parents

Police said a man and his dog were able to get through the school's gates and into the school Tuesday afternoon, sparking school security concerns from parents.

Jonathan Gordon

Apr 11, 2023, 9:34 PM

Updated 410 days ago

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Parents of students at a Mount Vernon school are furious because they say the district failed to notify them about a stranger who was able to get inside the cafeteria during a lunch period.
Police said a man and his dog were able to get through the school's gates and into the school Tuesday afternoon, sparking school security concerns from parents.
Hamilton Elementary School parents like Lindsay Cancel say they were alarmed to hear a man was able to get on the premises while students were out on the playground.
The parent of four children said it's almost equally as bad that the district didn't lockdown or notify parents right away.
"The parent is hearing it from the student. You need to know as it's happening from the schools," says Cancel.
School officials say the man was able to get as far as the cafeteria before he was escorted away.
Students were told to get inside the building.
School staff spotted him again about 15 minutes later on North High Street - which runs adjacent to the building. The staff then called the police.
Law enforcement officials said the man was incoherent when he was arrested Tuesday afternoon.
The man did not have a weapon on him and no students were harmed. The situation spooked parents who said school safety is a top concern.
Mount Vernon Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. K. Veronica Smith wrote in a statement, "The health, safety and welfare of our students and staff is our highest priority."
School officials say a combination of staff and security generally watch over students during recess but it's still unclear how the man was able to get so far before being stopped.
Police haven't said why the man was there, if he had a connection to the school or what charges he's facing.


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