Middle school employee charged

Olivia Sieff

The St. Louis Park police department arrested Jarrell Smith, an instructional assistant at St. Louis Park Middle School, Nov. 10 for alleged criminal sexual conduct, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s jail roster.

According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s court report, the incident occurred around Nov. 6, and Smith currently faces charges for second and fourth degree criminal sexual conduct. Smith posted a bond of $75,000 Nov. 15 and was released from custody. Smith appears in court Dec. 10.

The district released an automated call Nov. 10 to all middle school parents and staff regarding the alleged incident involving Smith and a student.

In the call, Sara Thompson, director of communications for St. Louis Park Public Schools, said school officials became aware of the incident Nov. 9. Thompson said, the district no longer employs Smith.

In a letter sent to district parents, Superintendent Rob Metz said the safety of students and staff remains a high priority and policies are in place to ensure this safety. Metz also said background checks are mandatory for all employees, including checking Federal Bureau of Investigation reports.

“St. Louis Park is a children-first community and all employees of St. Louis Park Public Schools, as well as community members, are vigilant in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all children,” Metz said.

Amy Susman-Stillman, a parent with children in the district’s high school, middle school and the elementary school, said the district should use this incident to provide resources for families on how to deal with sexual assault.

“I think that they could be providing services to families with guidance for how families can talk about this with children and how to help their children know how to keep themselves safe,” Susman-Stillman said. “And we haven’t gotten any of that.”

Les Bork, principal at St. Louis Park Middle School, and Randy Zutz, a counselor at St. Louis Park Middle School, did not respond to requests for comment.

The Echo will continue investigating this issue.