UPDATE: Additional information sent to PEM parents over student misconduct

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 6:29 PM CDT
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PLAINVIEW, Minn. (KTTC) – Recent inappropriate student behavior in Plainview-Elgin-Millville Community Schools is raising more questions than answers for some within the school district.

On September 29, KTTC first reported on viewer tips of alleged hazing involving students during PEM’s homecoming celebrations earlier that week.

District officials deny any hazing occurred, but confirm incidents of what they are calling “misbehavior,” which are said to have put some students at risk and in unsafe situations. This information was conveyed to PEM parents in a written letter earlier this week.

Today, another letter was sent out and KTTC was included on its distribution. Superintendent Darrin Strosahl apologized for the negative attention being brought to the community. He said the district is obligated to protect the identities of the students involved, along with the consequences being imposed.

Strosahl also stated a new video has surfaced that is being reviewed. Pertaining to that video footage, Strosahl said, “While we are unable to authenticate the video or identify individuals, the behavior depicted in the video has no place in our community or PEM Schools.”

He said an independent investigator is being brought in to assist the district.

PEM is making counselors available for students.

The school board is scheduled to meet October 9 at 6 p.m. at the high school in Plainview. The meeting is closed to the public due to classified information on the agenda.

You can read the full text of Strosahl’s latest letter below:

Dear Families,

As many of you know, there was an incident that took place last week off school grounds and in the evening. A small number of our students violated the Plainview-Elgin-Millville Community Schools code of conduct with their behavior, and we have implemented corrective actions in accordance with our policies. We have also been in close collaboration with local law enforcement throughout our entire investigation process.

I want to apologize for the disruption this incident and the behaviors of our students have caused our school district community. It has overshadowed what was intended to be a positive celebration to bring people together in support of PEM.

I recognize that many members of our school community would like us to provide student names and consequences. It would be illegal to do so. Please understand that we are obligated to protect the identity of students and are prohibited from sharing confidential student information.

What we can share is that certain behaviors were unacceptable and we issued corrective actions. We will continue to investigate as new information becomes available. In that manner, we are involving an independent investigator in the on-going investigation. The school board will be meeting in a closed session according to Minnesota Statute 13D.05, Subd.2 (a) at a future date to discuss educational data that is not public.

We can and must be a school community where we treat one another with respect, kindness, and dignity. We continue to work with students on repairing and building positive relationships.

In the days since the communication we sent to all PEM families last Friday, school and district administrators have just been notified of and given access to a video through the media from an anonymous source. While we are unable to authenticate the video or identify individuals, the behavior depicted in the video has no place in our community or PEM Schools. We will continue to address any new information that becomes available, but cannot reveal private educational data under Minnesota law.

Finally, if your student needs any support please know that our counselors are available at any time. Please have them stop by the counselor’s office if they would like to talk. We are here to support our students in any way we can. As I shared last week, our most important priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students.

Thank you for your attention to this important update. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions or concerns. My office number is (507) 534-3651 and my email is dstrosahl@isd2899.k12.mn.us.


Darrin Strosahl

Superintendent, PEM Schools