Reporter Mellaney Moore investigated for entering elementary schools with hidden camera

Categories: Education, Media
MellaneyMoore.jpg
TV screengrab via Forum Communications
Mellaney Moore, a reporter for the Fargo-Moorhead TV station Valley News Live, is being investigated by police for entering area elementary schools with a hidden camera but without permission from school administrators while reporting a piece about school safety earlier this week.

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According to a Forum Communications report, one of the schools she entered has a sign on the door stating, "During regularly scheduled classes, all visitors must register at the main office. Failure to do so is a Class B misdemeanor and a violation of Fargo municipal code 10-0320." But in order to demonstrate holes in the schools' security, Moore didn't register when she walked in.

In Moore's report, hidden camera footage of children was accompanied with observations like this: "Right away, I saw lines of students, and one can't even imagine what could happen."

While it's unclear whether Moore will face charges, Moorhead police lieutenant Tory Jacobson told Forum, "The concern we had was that they were specifically doing something that wasn't lawful."

Moore's report also didn't sit well with school administrators.

One of them, West Fargo Schools Superintendent David Flowers, told Forum, "In the name of supposedly reporting a vulnerability, you're also advertising it for those that may not have known."

But despite the blowback, Valley News Live News Director Ike Walker stands by the report.

"We went inside three schools and walked around unabated. We walked in, and then we walked out," Walker told Forum. "At no time did anyone ever stop us to challenge why we were there, and that raises a pretty significant security question."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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29 comments
Andy Stealth Trattar
Andy Stealth Trattar

She broke a law doing her job...give her a misdemeanor and see if anyone even cares... She just pointed out how easy it is to walk around a school without anyone noticing. "She's a young woman, of course nobody paid attention to her"... I call that a likely suspect in the abduction of a child... The obvious person never gets away with it.

sosMpls
sosMpls

She was 100% right, another Colorado school shooting that would have been prevented by locking the outside doors during school hours.

Heidi Bengtson
Heidi Bengtson

Many famous journalists break the law for a story, especially undercover ones when they do not give their true identity. This will be her warning to not follow the crowd or the producer and to take care of herself.

Heidi Bengtson
Heidi Bengtson

She was probably doing a job recommended by the producer. She shouldn't be breaking laws and she should get a "warning" for this one.

Brenda Horne
Brenda Horne

I agree with what she did. The brought attention to the fact that our schools need to be more secure. Our kids need to be protected from terror domestic or not.

Whitney Joan
Whitney Joan

This is fear based news... To make people panic. And I completely agree with Kevin Clark. And further more, I feel that if we had a better community, if we connected more, talked more, met each other and actually knew more of people within our school systems and EVERYWHERE we wouldn't be so distrusting and scared. But we hardly have community anywhere . We don't know a quarter of the people with in our schools and communities . A lot of people , most people , don't even talk to their neighbors. If people actually reached out and got to know people and had a community we wouldn't be so scared that everyone is out there to murder us and our families. Just my thoughts...

Kim Sampson
Kim Sampson

Ok...flip the coin. Had there been a school shooting people, would be pissed at the lack of security and why itvwasn't better. This reporter may have saved some lives by bringing attention to the issue.

Kevin Clark
Kevin Clark

Schools are not safe places. There are no safe places. Even a Naval yard is not a safe place. Skyscrapers in New York are not safe places. Every road and highway is not a safe place. A crazy person can walk into any mall, school, restaurant etc with a bomb or gun or knife and kill a half dozen or so people. There always are risks in life. However odds a stranger walks into a school and injures or kidnaps your child is very low compared to other places where that can happen.

Pinko Thinker
Pinko Thinker

why didn't she personally rape a few of those darling doe-eyed innocents, and shoot a few more for good measure? just as a simple proof of concept demonstration of the unspeakable horrors that await every one of us ...no??? I guess you just don't understand modern journalism!

Oscar
Oscar

Somehow the schools in question are deflectring blame to the woman! What a f'ing joke. Next thing you know she'll be sued somehow ta boot.

Kurt Duerksen
Kurt Duerksen

Wow. Talk about hard hitting journalism. How about doing some real work and report on how our gun culture is affecting our society.

Forrest Cahoon
Forrest Cahoon

What's her point, that schools are not on lockdown? She's trying to shock us about not having a level of security in schools which, if it actually existed, would totally undermine education. She does not deserve to escape the consequences of the crime she's committed.

Jessica Maria Hakala
Jessica Maria Hakala

Well, I dunno who was with her in this "investigation," but she IS a young woman. It's less likely she's get hassled. She could have been a teacher for all anyone knew. If a guy had done this study, I bet the likelihood of him being approached would have been much higher.

Angela Salzl
Angela Salzl

I haven't been into a school in the past three years that didn't have a uniformed security guard at the front door! Elementary, Jr and Sr high in the Robbinsdale district. Hell one of the elementaries you have to be buzzed in then your met by the guard. There is safety measures that can be met with little to no money but majority of schools do not put forth the effort

Julie Haas Myers
Julie Haas Myers

I understand that news outlets love these exposé-type stories, especially during sweeps periods. However, I also understand the school administration's "TMI" concern...why encourage some nutjob by announcing the obviously flawed system on the nightly news?

Carrie Hartman McDermott
Carrie Hartman McDermott

Most schools have this problem its not a newsflash. Most were built before school shootings were a threat. And schiol districts are aware its an issue and many are in the planning process now to improve their security but that takes time and money.

Amber Stickney
Amber Stickney

Well, here's hoping the people with bad intentions read the signs and follow the rules....I guess I can just leave my doors unlocked and post a note asking burglars to please knock first. .

Mitch Adams
Mitch Adams

how do u think we all left and went to smoke pot. its easy gettin it and out of schools

jessesomething
jessesomething

I'm glad scare-tactic journalism is being challenged by the police. It's abusive and doesn't make our society any better than it is already.

Daryl Halseth
Daryl Halseth

News flash schools do not have security. No kidding,

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Brenda Horne 

If you want to be protected from terror, you should just turn off the TV.

Onan
Onan

They apparently cut funding from the English department to fund those security measures.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Amber Stickney

No, you should just lock yourself in a vault under the concrete foundation of your house. That way nothing bad will happen to you ever.

_Joe_
_Joe_

@Daryl HalsethApparently you're also likely to see lines of students if you enter.  *Shocking*

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