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Parents, district respond to Wisconsin elementary school break-in

A Wisconsin elementary school is updating security after a thief entered the building during class hours.
Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 18:56:24-04

GENOA CITY, Wis. — A Wisconsin elementary school is updating security after a thief entered the building during class hours.

Last Friday, Genoa City Police say someone, without authorization, entered Brookwood Elementary in Genoa City. According to police, the person stole a wallet from an empty room.

That person, police say, was in the school for a total of four minutes but did not encounter any staff member or students during that time.

“I was surprised. A bit uneasy about the whole thing, because I do have a student here," said a Brookwood parent who asked to remain anonymous.

On Monday, Superintendent Drew Halbesma sent out a letter to parents, explaining "human error" may be to blame for the unauthorized entry.

He said several exterior doors have locks that once open, can remain unlocked. Halbesma said all those door handles will be updated so they can't remain unlocked after entry.

Brookwood Elementary is a small school in a small Wisconsin town on the Illinois border. Bill Henrickson, who lives across the street from the school called Genoa City "very safe" and "close-knit with young families now."

After living there for nearly 20 years, he can't remember any other incident at the school.

"Makes me kind of nervous. You gotta stay a little bit more alert of what your surroundings are," said Henrickson.

The school district said it also plans to enhance video surveillance, change all the exterior locks and increase daily security walks outside the building.

"Actually, it seemed pretty good," said a Brookwood parent of the district's response. "They sent out an email [on Monday] that seemed very concise with a definite action plan."

Another parent said her daughter, who was in the building, didn't see anything.

"I don't want it to happen to my children or any other children," she said. "I was okay sending my kids to school [Tuesday] morning with the district's handling of the situation."

Several parents told TMJ4 News they would support, and even help pay for, a security audit of the building.

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