WALDORF, Md. — Near the end of the school day on September 22, an unauthorized man reportedly walked into Berry Elementary School in Charles County and barricaded himself in a private restroom.
Following the incident, Berry Elementary School was placed on a brief “precautionary hold” while a school resource officer (SRO) removed the individual from school grounds.
LeighAnn McLaud, the school’s principal, detailed the incident in an email to parents at the end of the day.
Read the full letter from McLaud below:
Dear Parents and Guardians:
This afternoon around 3:10 p.m., Berry Elementary School was placed in a precautionary hold status for about 25 minutes. School administrators learned that someone who gained authorized access to the main entrance had accidentally let an adult through the main doors.
The entryway to our school guides any visitor traffic to the main office. When the adult came into the main office, he asked to use the bathroom and walked into the nurse’s office and locked himself in the bathroom.
The school resource officer (SRO) was immediately notified and removed the individual from the school campus. Once the person was removed from the school by police, the hold was lifted and our afternoon dismissal began as normal.
The police activity was likely viewed by parents waiting in our car rider line. The SRO stayed on campus until all of our students were safely dismissed for the school day. Administrators are working with police to investigate all the details surrounding the situation.
During a hold all school hallways are kept clear of traffic, internal doors are locked and students and staff are asked to remain in classroom areas until the status is lifted. I appreciate the quick response from our SRO to assist with the situation.
Berry Elementary School has protocols in place that include visitor access to the building. Signage is highly visible in our main door area that discourages anyone – parents, students, community members and staff – from allowing someone to enter the building.
All visitors to the school must use the camera doorbell system to request access to the building, verbalize with staff their need to enter the school and show photo identification before being allowed to come into the school. Unfortunately with the situation this afternoon, this did not happen.
Our SRO was quickly able to address the incident and ensure the building was safe from any harm or safety threats.
Police will be contacted any time we have a report of an unauthorized person on school grounds, or requesting access to the school building. We are requesting additional police presence to be on site tomorrow at the school during our morning arrival and afternoon dismissal.
I appreciate the quick thinking of our staff for recognizing that this person did not belong in the school this afternoon and taking steps to ensure the safety of students and staff. Berry administrators are working with the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Office of School Safety and Security and police to ensure the incident is thoroughly investigated and a situation such as this does not happen again.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at the school.
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