UPDATE: An arrest has been made in connection to the discovery of a loaded gun at a Sioux Falls School.

Friday evening a loaded handgun was found at the Career and Technical Education Academy (CTE) at 4700 W Career Circle in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. According to KSFY-TV, police say the gun was hidden in a bathroom at CTE by a district employee.

Joseph Croal, 25, a custodian at the school reportedly left the firearm in the bathroom. Sioux Falls police Captain Blaine Larsen said that the incident was a bad decision by Croal. Officials stress that there was never any threat to students or staff. Chroal was arrested for possession of a weapon at a school and false reporting. His employment with the school district has been terminated.

The following is the text of the email parents revived Monday (August 27).

Good Morning Sioux Falls Parents and Guardians.  We have some new information regarding the loaded handgun found Friday night at CTE.  An arrest was made in the case this morning.  Charges are pending against 25-year-old Joseph Croal, a District employee.

While this information is still very new to us and very troubling, we want you to know that throughout the situation neither students nor staff were ever in danger.  Safety and security are always our highest priorities.  We are fortunate to live and work in a city where the mayor and the police force share that same commitment.  Dozens of officers and investigators worked alongside District staff throughout the weekend to lead to this arrest.

We understand the anxiety for parents, as many of us are parents, as well. While we can’t disclose all of our safety and security procedures, we can tell you that we used the expertise of our trained staff, our surveillance cameras, and our long-standing partnership with the Sioux Falls Police Department to resolve this situation. Very soon, we will sit down to walk through the steps taken to improve our next response.  Thank you for placing your trust in us.

Here is the full text of the original email parents received Sunday, August 26.

Good afternoon Sioux Falls School District Parents and Guardians. The important information contained in this message may not directly impact your child’s school. However, we are sending this message to everyone because we think in this instance it is best to over-communicate rather than under-communicate.

On Friday night, a school employee found a loaded handgun hidden at the Career and Technical Education Academy.  We immediately notified authorities and began working closely with the Sioux Falls Police Department and their investigative units. A great deal of work has been done over the weekend to find out who is responsible for placing the gun at the school. That work continues thanks to the many law enforcement resources available to us.

There will be a heightened security awareness in all buildings as we return to school tomorrow. Schedules will run as normal. If you or your student have any information regarding this situation, please call Sioux Falls Police immediately or have your student talk to an adult at school tomorrow. It is important that we all work together to keep our schools safe.  Thank you for your partnership.

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