`

Woman can be charged with criminal trespass after entering school

March 24, 2016

A woman who entered school property after she was threatened with criminal trespass if she did so can be charged with the crime after the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court ruling that she had no contractual interest in the school property, despite being a parent in the district.

Shelby Frink was a secretary in the athletic office at Shelbyville High School when she was found to be having a sexual relationship with a student on and off school property. She was subsequently terminated and given a no trespass order not to enter school property.

However, a week later Frink was found to have been on school property, and a police officer reminded her of the order. She returned a couple of times to transfer her children to another school within the district, and eventually police officers charged her with one count of Level 6 felony trespass. Frink filed a motion to dismiss, but the trial court denied it. The trial court certified an order of interlocutory appeal and the COA accepted jurisdiction.

Frink argued she had a contractual interest in the property because she was a parent of two students in the school district. The COA disagreed, saying “Frink’s assertion that her mere status as a parent of children within the School Corporation conferred upon her a contractual interest in the Coulston Elementary School property is made without citation to relevant authority and is unpersuasive.”

The COA said contractual interest should not be interpreted so broadly and that contractual interest of a student being on school property, if there is any, is not absolute.

“Neither our legislature nor our judiciary has limited the application of our criminal trespass statute in such a way, and we will not do so here,” Judge Terry Crone wrote for the panel.

Frink also challenged the lawfulness of the school denying her entry and whether the school district is constitutionally compelled to provide procedural safeguards in denying a parent entry to its property, but the COA said those issues don’t matter in this suit. All the state needed to do was disprove Frink’s contractual interest, which it did.

The case is Jennifer L. Frink v. State of Indiana, 73A05-1507-CR-761.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Articles by Scott Roberts