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Youth accused of hindering law enforcement in Dickinson school arson case

Press Photo by Katherine Grandstrand Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Doug Sullivan, left, speaks with Dickinson Catholic Schools President Steve Glasser Thursday about logistics as Trinity High School students will be occupying public school space starting Monday for the remainder of the school year.

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Dickinson police arrested a juvenile early Thursday on a charge of hindering law enforcement in the investigation of Monday’s fire at Trinity High School.

Former Trinity High School Principal Thomas Sander is charged with arson and endangering by fire in the case. He is accused of setting fire to contents of a file cabinet in the office vault at the school.

The blaze severely damaged the Trinity building and closed it for the rest of the school year.

Sander, 30, was being held at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center on $500,000 cash bond.

The juvenile was taken into custody at 3 a.m. Thursday at the Law Enforcement Center and shortly thereafter transported to the Youth Correctional Center in Mandan for holding until a juvenile court hearing is conducted, according to a release sent by Dickinson police Detective Kylan Klauzer. The charge he faces is a Class C felony.

"It's pretty tight lidded as far as any of the fine details," Klauzer said.

The Dickinson Police Department does not identify juveniles who are arrested to the media.

Meanwhile, Dickinson Public Schools will take in 174 Trinity students for the rest of the school year. Dickinson Catholic Schools will rent space from the public schools for the final 10 weeks.

The move will act as a trial run for the growth the public school district expects to experience in the next year.

“This is a short-term solution to a long-range problem for Trinity,” Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Doug Sullivan said. “We’re able to help for 10 weeks. Next year, the options for Dickinson Public Schools are extremely limited.”

Little has been figured out regarding Trinity’s extracurricular activities. Instead, faculty and staff are focused on getting a sense of normalcy back for their students.

“Our No. 1 priority was getting instruction resumed — teaching our kids,” Dickinson Catholic Schools President Steve Glasser said. “We set a timetable, we knew we were not going to be in school this week. But we wanted to do everything possible to start classes up on Monday.”

There will be open houses Sunday so parents and students can see the facilities that are about to become their temporary academic homes.

Trinity’s 37 juniors and 40 seniors will have class in at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dickinson.

“We’re going to be more creative there,” Glasser said. “We’re going to combine some juniors and — there might be a class of 40. … The way they totally renovated their facility, it actually can be divided into eight classrooms if you need to — or one, or two or four.”

The senior class is probably the most affected, Glasser said.

“I feel bad for our seniors,” Glasser said. “They will not be able to walk across that stage. A lot of them, generations went through Trinity High School. Their grandparents may have walked across that stage, their parents walked across that stage, brothers and sister walked across that stage.”

The administration is working with the community to find an alternative location to hold graduation, prom and other spring events, Glasser said. The date and time of graduation will stay the same. Glasser said they’re working on prom logistics.

The senior class has been rallying together, and will likely bond with the juniors, Glasser said.

“Hopefully this will create new relationships that are lifelong relationships,” Glasser said.

The state Department of Public Instruction has approved Trinity to start its fourth quarter Monday, and Glasser is working on the paperwork to have the missed week of class excused. If the department does require the week to be made up, Trinity will look at all options to make up the missed days.

Dickinson Catholic Schools will be paying for the public school space it uses for its final quarter of the school year. Financial arrangements have not been completed while the districts wait for insurance numbers to come through.

Each public school building will have a Trinity lead teacher in the building as a point person for any concerns, Glasser said.

TMI Systems Design is donating office space for Trinity’s administration and possibly a work room for teachers.

Glasser said other local companies, businesses and individuals have offered their help.

“The last three days, the outpouring of support has been phenomenal,” Glasser said. “(It is)
very humbling, the support that we’re receiving.”

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
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