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Decatur Police arrest man who entered elementary school campus to complain about noise

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Decatur Police arrest man who entered elementary school campus to complain about noise

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This story has been updated. 

A man entered Clairemont Elementary School’s campus uninvited on March 13 to complain about noise coming from the school’s playground.

He was quickly escorted off campus. School officials are reviewing security procedures and police have arrested the man, identified as 74-year-old Thomas Ramsey of Decatur. He is charged with simple assault and disrupting a public school, Lt. Jennifer Ross said.

According to an email to Clairemont parents, the incident happened during a physical education class.

The email says, “an adult member of our community, unaffiliated with the school, entered our campus to share his disapproval of the noise level coming from the playground.”

The email to parents said the man’s attitude toward the teacher was disrespectful and one of the school’s Kindergarten classes witnessed the confrontation.

According  to a report provided by Decatur Police, the teacher said the incident occurred around 10:10 a.m.

“She was instructing a group of children on the playground when an unknown male entered the school property through a rear gate and approached her,” the police report says. “When asked if she could provide the male with any assistance, the male responded in a loud and abrasive tone that the teacher was being too loud and needed to stop. The male continued to advance toward and yell at the teacher. The teacher felt unsafe and summoned for assistance via her school radio while the male continued to yell and berate her regarding the noise produced by the class. The teacher attempted to diffuse the situation by advising the male that he could speak with the school administration by reporting to the front office. The male refused to leave the area and continued to yell and approach the teacher in a manner that made her re-position herself to prevent the male from invading her personal space. Another teacher on the playground witnessed the incident, grew concerned and sought assistance from other staff. Another staff member arrived and the male was escorted to the front office of the school.”

The email from the school to parents said the teacher followed the proper procedures.

“The teacher immediately followed protocol, notifying the main office and the individual was escorted to the office and addressed by a member of our administrative team,” the email from the school said. “Following the incident, district administration was notified and our superintendent, [David] Dude, addressed the incident with the individual.”

School counselors talked to the students afterwards to make sure they were OK. The students “were in good spirits and did not seem to be in fear.”

“A faculty meeting was held, at the end of the day, to share this information and to review safety procedures,” the email concludes. “We will continue to be vigilant in monitoring our campus and ensuring the safety of the staff and students. Thank you for your continued support of our school.”

A school system spokesperson said school administrators were notified immediately after the man entered the school’s property and they intervened quickly, escorting the man off campus without a police officer present.

Ross said a school resource officer met with the man at his home, which is nearby.

“The male stated he entered the school grounds through the back gate by way of a trail adjacent to his property and admitted he was aware that he should not have entered school property, that his behavior was inappropriate and that he had lost his temper, stating he had become frustrated trying to address the noise situation at the school,” Ross said.

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