Principal provides update on trespasser on Pickering High School campus

Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 4:41 PM CDT
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Leesville, LA (KPLC) - The principal of Pickering High School, Jeffrey Odom, reassured concerned parents of the safety of his students after controversy spread regarding a woman who trespassed on the campus last week.

The woman who was found trespassing is an outpatient at Oceans Behavioral Hospital where she is being treated for some type of mental issue, according to Vernon Parish Sheriff Sam Craft. Hospital staff would provide transportation to and from the clinic for her sessions, and she lived very close to the school.

Odom told West Central’s Best after a thorough investigation conducted by the high school, the school board and the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office, security footage revealed that around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, a teacher escorted a child who uses a wheelchair out of the school cafeteria and used a wooden block to prop the door open. While the teacher was loading the student into their parent’s car, the trespasser, who had just been dropped off by a van from Oceans, snuck in the cafeteria through that open door, which is normally locked otherwise as per school policy.

Upon entering, the woman remained in the cafeteria and did not move to any other parts of the campus. She was on campus for about 30 minutes before loading the school bus, as Pickering High School released early that day due to a baseball game.

Odom confirmed with KPLC the door was only propped open for approximately 3 minutes, and the teacher never noticed the woman upon reentering the cafeteria.

In response to parents’ questions regarding the whereabouts of the school resource officer, Odom said the officer left the campus to escort the baseball team to a game and was not present during any of the events that took place.

“As the Principal of Pickering High School, our Administrative team takes the responsibility of the safety of our students and school to heart. We apologize for any extra concerns it may have caused throughout this investigation process. Now that the investigation has been completed, we have addressed the issues and corrected them. Our students are safe at Pickering High School and we will continue to keep them safe. Thank you all for your support and kind words throughout this time,” Odom said in a statement.