Man found hiding in school classroom cupboard

CALLS have been made for security to be tightened at a city high school after a man sneaked into a home economics classroom.

The 31-year-old was discovered during school hours by staff inside a store room within the classroom, which is located in a separate building from the main Boroughmuir High School, and was escorted from the premises by police.

Parents have questioned how he was able to wander into the building, which is unlocked during school hours, without being challenged and raised concerns about what he was doing there.

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The man got into the building through a gate leading to the car park which is normally closed during school hours, but had been accidentally left open on the day.

Council chiefs said staff have been reminded to be “vigilant at all times” and to challenge any adult who was not wearing a visitor or staff badge.

A parent, who didn’t want to be named and has a son at the school, said: “He managed to get right into the school to a home economics classroom and found a cupboard to hide in. What if he had a gun? Like these incidents in the States – his agenda could have been anything.”

The man was discovered at around 3pm on Tuesday, January 15, but the city council insisted no pupils were in the department at the time. It is not clear how long he had been in the school for.

The man was arrested and charged for allegedly being on a premises with the intention of committing theft on January 15.

Father-of-two Dr Scott Arthur, 43, who lives in Fairmilehead and has a daughter in third year at Boroughmuir, called the incident “concerning”.

The council said the vast majority of schools in Edinburgh, including Boroughmuir High’s main building, have a secure entry buzzer system and many also have CCTV.

However, Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA), said: “I find it outrageous that this could happen.

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“Somebody could come into the school with a grudge or at the other end of the extreme, you have got another situation like what happened in Dunblane. That’s why all these security measures were put in place. Every authority in the country was basically given public money to make their schools secure.”

The council also said it would ensure that the gate leading to the separate building was closed at all times.

Conservative education spokesman councillor Jason Rust said: “No-one wants schools like prisons, but obviously this is a very concerning incident and I would hope the council have initiated an investigation and any necessary review of protocols at the school as a result.”

A council spokeswoman said it took the security of its staff, pupils and property “very seriously”, and that the issue at Boroughmuir High was dealt with in a “speedy and 
appropriate manner”. She said: “This person accessed a building outwith the main school, where a buzzer system is in place. He was challenged by the first member of staff who saw him and detained. He did not encounter any pupils.”

A spokesman for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said the man’s not guilty plea to the charge had been accepted.


IN March 2002, a man burst into the classroom of an Edinburgh school and assaulted a 14-year-old boy with a metal bar as pupils and their teacher watched in horror.

An urgent investigation was launched into how the man, described as being in his late teens or early 20s, was able to carry out the assault in Trinity Academy.

The culprit fled the school before the stunned teacher could confront him. The victim, who was rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in an ambulance, suffered cuts to his head and shoulder injuries in the incident, but was released after treatment.