Bemidji Area Schools Releases Statement For BMS Asst. Principal Arrest
The Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Dr. James Hess has released a statement following the arrest of Bemidji Middle School’s Assistant Principal Brandon Bjerknes. In the statement, the school acknowledges it received an unspecified complaint three days prior to his arrest.
According to the district statement, Bjerknes has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Bjerknes was arrested on March 23rd, on suspicion of two counts of soliciting a minor. He is expected to appear in Beltrami County Court today for an arraignment, according to Beltrami County Attorney Annie Claesson-Huseby.
Bjerknes has also served as a teacher at Northern Elementary, a school within the district.
The full statement reads as follows:
“Bemidji Area Schools received a complaint regarding Brandon Bjerknes, Assistant Principal [of Bemidji Middle School], on March 20, 2017. Mr. Bjerknes was immediately placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
As always, the priority for Bemidji Area Schools is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students. All complaints regarding school district employees are taken seriously and will work with all appropriate agencies to ensure that a comprehensive investigation is completed.
Bemidji Area Schools is providing this information in accordance with Minnesota Statute §13.43. All other information relating to this matter is classified a[s] “private data” in accordance with Minnesota Statute §13.43.”
Minnesota Statute §13.43 requires a superintendent of a school district or the superintendent’s designee, or a person having administrative control of a charter school, to release to a requesting school district or charter school private personnel data on a current or former employee related to acts of violence toward or sexual contact with a student, if:
(1) an investigation conducted by or on behalf of the school district or law enforcement affirmed the allegations in writing prior to release and the investigation resulted in the resignation of the subject of the data; or
(2) the employee resigned while a complaint or charge involving the allegations was pending, the allegations involved acts of sexual contact with a student, and the employer informed the employee in writing, before the employee resigned, that if the employee resigns while the complaint or charge is still pending, the employer must release private personnel data about the employee’s alleged sexual contact with a student to a school district or charter school requesting the data after the employee applies for employment with that school district or charter school and the data remain classified as provided in chapter 13.
Data that are released under this subdivision must not include data on the student.