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School adds security patrol officer

A security officer will patrol the Naytahwaush, Minn., Elementary School today and the remainder of the school year after a second-grade teacher reported a student's grandparent assaulted her Thursday morning.

A security officer will patrol the Naytahwaush, Minn., Elementary School today and the remainder of the school year after a second-grade teacher reported a student's grandparent assaulted her Thursday morning.

Tammy McArthur, Naytahwaush, was arrested at the school on suspicion of fifth-degree assault, Mahnomen County Sheriff Brad Athmann said.

She was later released on her own recognizance, he said.

He declined to identify the woman reporting the assault.

The report prompted an emergency school board meeting, where school officials requested an officer or officers be posted at the school. Athmann said he agreed to have an officer standing by.

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Most school entryways will be locked and the officer will monitor visitors and escort people to and from vehicles, Athmann said.

The sheriff said he isn't sure what sparked Thursday's incident.

Calls to McArthur's home were not answered Thursday night.

Superintendent Brent Gish said a staff member was attacked but doesn't have a clear picture of why the incident occurred.

"It just seemed like it evolved from something that was relatively routine ... when it got to where there was an exchange between the two," Gish said.

The teacher is fine and wanted to finish teaching the rest of the day, Gish said.

"We're still searching for answers. It's hard to really understand how it got to where it did," he said.

Naytahwaush is 22 miles southeast of Mahnomen, on the White Earth Indian Reservation. The K-6 school of about 80 students is overseen by the Mahnomen School District.

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School board chairwoman Nancy LaDue said she isn't aware of previous violence at the Naytahwaush school.

"I don't think you can be too cautious. Anything you can do to ensure your kids are safe and your students are safe, that's what you have to do," she said of the board's decision to hire a security officer.

An elementary charter school in Naytahwaush has been approved for classes to begin next school year, according to the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools.

The Naytahwaush Community School will provide a child-centered environment where learning is relevant and respects the traditions and wisdom of community, family and self, according to its mission statement at www.voamncharters.org/schools/prof_ncs.php .

The Web site says high academic expectations will be fostered through environmental learning, the arts and cultural exploration.

Parents and guardians will play a vital role in their child's education with home-visits conducted a minimum of twice yearly, including one visit prior to the start of each school year to begin the process of establishing a strong home/school partnership.

Community involvement will also be an integral piece to the education at the Naytahwaush Community School, the Web site says.

School board member Allen Houdek said the charter school is "a slap in the face" to the good teachers at the current Naytahwaush school.

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"The board has every intention of doing everything in its power to keep that building open," he said.

Terri Rothschadl, a representative for the charter school, did not return a phone call seeking comment Thursday night.

Reporter Dave Olson contributed to this article. Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5557

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