MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Parents of Westside Elementary School in Memphis are demanding answers after a scantily clad woman wielding a baseball bat made her way into the school cafeteria.
“For one thing, how did she even get into the building without being noticed?” one parent asked WMC Action News 5.
A Shelby County Schools spokeswoman told the news site “all exterior doors are designed to lock automatically when pulled shut, however, it appears someone who used the door accidentally failed to shut it completely.”
Clesie Lawton, 23, was charged with criminal trespass and jailed on a $100 bond after she entered the school in her bra and underwear with a baseball bat in hand and began screaming and acting frantically. Others in the neighborhood, who recorded the woman’s frantic behavior, told police Lawton broke out the window of a nearby house before heading to the school, according to media reports.
“I’ve been seeing her around here, you know, but didn’t think she’d do something like that,” neighbor Monprel Franklin said.
School officials managed to remove the woman and from the cafeteria shortly before more than 100 students filed in for lunch, then trapped her in an office until police arrived, Fox reports.
“According to the incident report, ‘officers opened the door and the female tried to get away. The female was yelling and acting out. She was nervous and squirming all over the place,’” Action News 5 reports.
Lawton allegedly told police she had issues with diabetes. She was also wanted on a warrant from nearby Millington. Parents of students at the elementary school said they were unimpressed with how the school handled the situation, according to media reports.
“The school didn’t notify any parents,” Toni Fink said. “No way, form or fashion.”
“I understand they had it all under control,” she said. “But I still wanted to know.”
Several commenters online expressed dismay that Lawton’s bond was set so low, and criticized the school’s lax security.
“$100 bond??? She’s running around in her underwear with a BASEBALL BAT and enters a school in a threatening manner, and the bond is $100???” Sheila Clifton posted to Facebook.
“That was my first thought as well,” Amanda Acosta chimed in.
Karen Baldwin asked “Why didn’t the school go on lockdown and keep the kids in class instead of bringing them into the cafeteria where the junkie was?”
“And why was a door unlocked to the school for anyone to gain access?” she continued.