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Principal receives restraining order

WILLMAR -- Willmar Middle School Principal Mark Miley has received a two-year harassment restraining order against a parent.

Miley sought the restraining order against David King of Willmar after a confrontation in a public parking lot last weekend. However, he and other school personnel had concerns about King's actions throughout the past school year, according to documents filed with the petition for the restraining order.

Miley filed the petition in Kandiyohi County District Court on Tuesday, and Judge Kathryn Smith granted the order and signed it that day without requiring a court hearing.

King is prohibited from having any contact with Miley or his family until June 7, 2013. The order includes communication by phone, email or social media. He is also banned from school property. If King violates the order, he could be arrested.

King was reached by telephone Friday afternoon but hung up to take an incoming call, saying he would call back. As of 7 p.m. Friday, he had not returned the call.

Miley said in a telephone interview Friday that the situation has been stressful, but he wanted people in the community to know that "I'm OK, our family's OK, and the Police Department is great."

When the public confrontation last weekend occurred in front of his wife, "it got to a level where I needed to address it," Miley said. "It wasn't OK when it affected my wife."

Miley said he would do what he needed to do to protect his family. He said his statement included students and staff. "They all are mine."

In his petition, Miley described a confrontation that took place June 4 when he and his wife encountered King at a local business. King allegedly confronted Miley and then followed the couple to their vehicle. He shouted insults and accusations until the store's manager intervened and asked King to leave.

Emails and letters filed with the petition illustrate the troubled relationship between King and the Middle School in the past year.

According to the documents, King has entered the school building without signing in at the school office, a violation of the school district's safety procedures. In an email attached to the petition and in conversations, King has allegedly told school personnel that he has the right to go anywhere he wants in the building because his taxes help pay for it.

Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said the district requires visitors to sign in at the office at all its school buildings. "We want them to let us know where they're going and then go there," he said.

"We don't have adults walking around free in our building," Miley said.

Also in the documents are allegations that King followed a school staff member in his car as she was leaving work and made inappropriate comments to a teacher during a parent-teacher conference. He allegedly arrived in another teacher's classroom before school unannounced and without an appointment to talk about his child's progress.

Emails from King became "increasingly hostile and vulgar" through the year, until on June 3 an email threatened him with a physical confrontation, Miley said in his petition.

Kjergaard said he could not comment on any of the information in the court records, and it was Miley's right to obtain a restraining order like any other member of the public.

"From the district's perspective, the safety of our students and staff is our paramount concern, and we take seriously all concerns regarding the educational environment and workplace," he said in a written statement.

Kjergaard said the district tries to provide an atmosphere that encourages learning and is free of disruption. "The District supports any appropriate action, whether by a staff member, a student, a parent, or a member of the community at large, that helps meet this goal."

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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