School security questioned

Published 10:43 am Saturday, March 5, 2011

JACKSON — A parent of a Central Elementary School student is concerned about security at the school campus after her son was allegedly assaulted by an adult relative of another student.

Lynnette Clark said the incident involving her eight-year-old son and two women occurred around the time breakfast was being served at the school on Thursday.

Clark said she has filed a warrant against one of the women who allegedly grabbed her son. The Northampton County Magistrates Office confirmed there had been a warrant issued, but it had not been served as of mid-afternoon on Friday and therefore the information on the document is not public record.

Clark said her son had been in an altercation with another student on Monday and Thursday morning the mother and grandmother of that student approached her son in the hallway.

“The grandmother grabbed him and pulled him,” Clark alleged.

The two women then allegedly threatened her child by saying they were going to “beat him up” if he laid a hand on the student he had been involved during Monday’s altercation.

“I don’t understand how two adults can approach a child in a school,” said Clark. “They could have hurt my son.”

Clark said a guidance counselor happened upon the scene and diffused the situation. However, Clark was notified by her son of the incident when he got home Thursday.

“The school did not notify me,” she said.

Clark said she did meet with school officials, including Northampton Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy and Central Elementary Principal Catina Hoggard.

“I was told the mother and the grandmother could not come back in the school,” she said.

The two women are apparently still allowed to come onto school grounds, as Clark said her son saw the vehicle the women drive at the school Friday morning. Clark said she’s not comfortable with that.

“When you come into the school and grab my son, I think you lose that luxury,” she said.

In the meantime, Clark said there should be efforts to tighten up security at the school.

“I think every adult that comes inside the school needs to be escorted,” she said.

Clark, who moved here in August from Atlanta, Ga., suggested the school system look into Ident-A-Kid, a child safety program that keeps track of visitors by making them log into a computer system where they have their photo taken and name registered. A guest pass is then printed out for the visitor to wear. The program also has the ability to check the visitor’s name against a list of registered child sex offenders.

The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald attempted to contact Bracy as well as Hoggard. Messages were left for both administrators, but as of press time on Friday neither had responded.