Reporter Mellaney Moore investigated for entering elementary schools with hidden camera
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.
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 email@example.com.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.