PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) — A man recently made it to the second floor of a Providence school for special needs children without checking in at the front desk or receiving a visitor’s badge, “as is protocol,” a spokesman for the school confirmed to NBC 10 News.
An incident report filed by police notes that authorities responded to Meeting Street campus, which is located at 1000 Eddy St., at 12:27 p.m. on Sept. 16, due to a call about a “suspicious person/activity.”
The report indicates that the caller told dispatch a man who “doesn’t belong to the school” was carrying a book bag in the lobby.
Police noted that the caller stated that “they’ve asked him to leave but he won’t.”
Through the spokesman, Meeting Street President John Kelly said “a person erroneously entered Meeting Street with a large group who had arrived for an appointment. The person accessed a common area without a visitor's badge and was escorted out of the building.”
The spokesman said there are two sets of main doors. While he said the first set is not locked during business hours and the front desk is located immediately inside the doors, the second set is locked and requires guests to be buzzed in.
In an email sent to NBC 10, a spokeswoman for the Providence Police Department wrote that “two officers responded to the scene and spoke with this gentleman,” who had identification on him. She added that “the officers said he was confused and disoriented but was not threatening.”
The spokesman noted that the security protocol requires all visitors “to check in at the front desk and receive a visitor badge to be worn at all times. The person they are there to see meets them at the desk.”
But the man, said the spokesman, didn’t stop at the front desk, nor did he receive a badge.
After leaving, he then attempted to enter the building a second time.
“The gentlemen was confused and convinced he was in the right place,” the spokesman wrote. “He did not speak English so it was initially difficult to communicate with him. He did try to enter a second time, and once a staff member was found that could translate Creole, it was determined that he meant to be in Pawtucket, and the police on scene gave him a ride to his correct destination.”
The spokesman noted that police responded, “out of caution,” and the man left with authorities. He added that the front desk called police once -- after the man entered the building a second time.
The spokesman said the man “was not in a classroom” and added that there are cameras in the facility, “but the person was not deemed to be a threat, so there was no cause to review them in this instance.”
When NBC 10 asked if students were frightened, the spokesman noted “N/A,” an acronym for “not applicable.”
“Meeting Street is open to the public and offers a variety of community services, including Early Intervention, WIC, and more, and I cannot recall a similar incident during my tenure,” Kelly said. “While all student classrooms are equipped with automatically-locking doors, and our campus has security guards, we are taking this situation very seriously, and additional safety and security measures and protocols are being instituted as part of our expansion and renovation. The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, families, and staff are of the utmost importance."
NBC 10 inquired if any employees were disciplined, Kelly said, “no discipline was necessary.”
Meeting Street, which was founded in 1946, offers inclusive day care, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten through eighth-grade, as well as a private high school that serves students with special needs.