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Katherine Grandstrand, Forum News Service, Published March 06 2014

Youth accused of hindering law enforcement in school arson case

DICKINSON, N.D. – Dickinson police arrested a juvenile early Thursday on a charge of hindering law enforcement in the investigation of Monday’s fire at Trinity High School.

Former Trinity High School Principal Thomas Sander is charged with arson and endangering by fire in the case. He is accused of setting fire to contents of a file cabinet in the office vault at the school.

The blaze severely damaged the Trinity building and closed it for the rest of the school year.

Sander, 30, was being held at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center on $500,000 cash bond.

The juvenile was taken into custody at 3 a.m. Thursday at the Law En-forcement Center and shortly thereafter transported to the Youth Correc-tional Center in Mandan for holding until a juvenile court hearing is conducted, according to a release sent by Dickinson police Detective Kylan Klauzer. The charge he faces is a Class C felony.

Meanwhile, Dickinson Public Schools will take in 174 Trinity students for the rest of the school year. Dickinson Catholic Schools will rent space from the public schools for the final 10 weeks.

The move will act as a trial run for the growth the public school district expects to experience in the next year.

“This is a short-term solution to a long-range problem for Trinity,” Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Doug Sullivan said. “We’re able to help for 10 weeks. Next year, the options for Dickinson Public Schools are extremely limited.”

Little has been figured out regarding Trinity’s extracurricular activities. Instead, faculty and staff are focused on getting a sense of normalcy back for their students.

“Our No. 1 priority was getting instruction resumed – teaching our kids,” Dickinson Catholic Schools President Steve Glasser said. “We set a timetable; we knew we were not going to be in school this week. But we wanted to do everything possible to start classes up on Monday.”

Trinity’s 37 juniors and 40 seniors will have class in at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dickinson.

The senior class is probably the most affected, Glasser said.

“I feel bad for our seniors,” Glasser said. “They will not be able to walk across that stage. A lot of them, generations went through Trinity High School. Their grandparents may have walked across that stage, their parents walked across that stage, brothers and sister walked across that stage.”

The administration is working with the community to find an alternative location to hold graduation, prom and other spring events, Glasser said. The date and time of graduation will stay the same. Glasser said they’re working on prom logistics.

The state Department of Public Instruction has approved Trinity to start its fourth quarter Monday, and Glasser is working on the paperwork to have the missed week of class excused. If the department does require the week to be made up, Trinity will look at all options to make up the missed days.

Dickinson Catholic Schools will be paying for the public school space it uses for its final quarter of the school year. Financial arrangements have not been completed while the districts wait for insurance numbers to come through.