Parents of kids in Rapid City schools worried about safety - KOTA Territory News

Parents of kids in Rapid City schools worried about safety


The arrest of a Pinedale Elementary School custodian for sex crimes on the Internet is sparking debate on our Facebook page.

Parents are concerned about the safety of their children, asking things like "How could this happen?" and "Why hasn't the school district notified parents?"

Toni Giago, mother of two, says she's just shocked that this could happen. "It's just really scary, you know? I have two kids at Canyon Lake, 4th and 5th grade. You always worry anyway with any school program," said Giago. "You kind of trust them to weed people out."

Katie Bray, Rapid City School District assistant superintendent, says background checks are done on all employees trying to work in the school district through a fingerprint system, and people are not hired if something is revealed.

And Bray says information wasn't immediately released to parents because top priority was working with the police to address the situation. "We'll continue with the background checks and through an interview process; we do everything in our power not to put anybody in front of our kids that pose a threat," said Bray.

Trina Norris, mother of three, says she's frightened by the situation, but understands sometimes it happens. "I would believe that the school district does what it needs to upon hiring individuals for a background check and everything else, but unfortunately with any job or anything you do there's always going to be someone that slips through the cracks or they may pass everything and suddenly go down a lifestyle you weren't aware," said Norris. "It's definitely very scary though."

Bray says the principle of Pinedale sent notification to parents Friday.
Casey Godfrey, the employee accused of solicitation of a minor, made his initial court appearance Friday morning. Bond was set at $15,000 or surety, and he was ordered to have no contact with children under 15 years old.

Once again, the alleged crime was linked to Internet activity only, but the case remains under investigation.

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