AKRON, OH – Jessica Smallwood was sentenced to one year in prison after she attacked the principal of her son’s elementary school, along with two other staff members, when told she could not eat breakfast with her son without a visitor’s pass.
The incident happened back in February and caused Glover elementary school to go into lockdown mode. It started when Smallwood, 26, accompanied her 7-year-old son inside the school to eat breakfast with him.
According to Smallwood, her special-needs son was often the target of bullies, so she would often eat breakfast with him at the school. According to Smallwood’s sister, she is known by the staff at the school and had made them aware of her son’s bullying situation.
When she arrived on the morning of the incident, a staffer allegedly told her that she didn’t need to sign in and let her proceed to the cafeteria with her son. Moments later, Principal Nancy Rich approached her and told her she needed to get a visitor’s pass or leave the school.
According to police, this resulted in an argument between Smallwood and Rich. Smallwood cursed at Rich and another teacher before pushing the teacher then wrestling the principal to the ground. Police say she also hit a cafeteria worker who had intervened.
The school was put on lockdown after a couple of calls were made to 911 during the fight. “She’s on the ground fighting one of our staff members,” an office worker told a dispatcher. “She threw our building principal onto the ground.” You can hear this call by clicking here.
Of course Smallwood’s son witnessed the entire incident and watched as his mother was taken to jail in handcuffs by police. Smallwood was charged with three counts of assault. Two of these counts were felonies because they involved school instructors.
The teacher and cafeteria worker were not seriously injured during the melee, but Rich had a head injury treated at the scene by paramedics.
Earlier this month, Smallwood pleaded guilty to the charges. On Tuesday, Summit County Common Pleas Judge Jane Davis sentenced Smallwood to 14 months in prison. “She was very upset and surprised that she was sentenced to prison,” said her defense attorney, John Greven, who added that he was going seek an early release for Smallwood.
One reason for her surprise may be the fact that she never served any time for her 2011 conviction for trafficking marijuana and attempted tampering with evidence.
“She’s not a bad person,” Smallwood’s sister said. “Had this happened at a bar or something, OK. But for a school? That’s out of character for my sister.” So is she saying that bar fights are in character for her sister?
Regardless, I only feel bad for her son, who is now with relatives. Smallwood should have just gotten the friggin’ visitor’s pass — one of the recent security related policies enforced by schools that I actually have no issues with.Tags: Assault, Crime, Jessica Smallwood, Ohio, school, teacher