ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – A big scare at Normandy High School in Wellston has parents and students calling for the simplest of security measures: Student IDs.
Antonio Batts, 18, of Ferguson, got into the school on Sept. 22 and tried to sexually assault female students, according to the North County Police Cooperative.
The Normandy Schools Collaborative has added security at the high school, but students and parents said the students have yet to be issued school IDs. Students said they gained entry based on staff recognition and school uniforms. There are about 600 students at the school.
Batts is charged with trespassing and two counts of fourth-degree assault, all misdemeanors. Police said he got into the school pretending to be a student.
“Even though he was able to blend, somebody didn’t buy it. Somebody questioned it and said, ‘Hey, wait a minute,’” said Major Ron Martin of the North County Police Cooperative.
Police treated it as a trespassing case at first but said hours later, female students came forward with allegations that Batts groped a student in the women’s restroom and then forcibly grabbed her shirt before she got away. Police said he asked other female students to meet him in the restroom “to engage in sexual conduct”.
The school resource officer caught Batts in a hallway.
“There was a little bit of resistance. He didn’t want to go to jail,” Martin said. “That’s why we have those security measures in place. That’s why we have police officers in school.”
The female students applauded the police response but say they are still looking over their shoulders.
“I really do. I am just looking back to make sure,” said Jamilah Eason, Normandy senior.
“I feel like it’s a little scary now,” said Jordyn Robinson.
The female students said they have noticed added security since the incident, but still fear it could happen again. The school has metal detectors, but students said no one checks student IDs for admittance because the school hasn’t issued them.
“For that just to happen, it’s like wow, anybody could just walk on this campus and people won’t even notice they’re on this campus,” Robinson said.
“It could have been handled better,” said Shontell Richardson, a parent.
The Normandy Schools Collaborative issued the following statement:
“The safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff is the top priority in the Normandy Schools Collaborative. We are thankful for the action of our security personnel and the North County Co-op, who apprehended the suspect.
Extra security personnel have been positioned at the school beginning Monday, Sept. 26, and will remain in place as long as needed to ensure a safe learning environment. Added safety measures have been implemented, and we will continue to review our safety and security procedures to ensure this type of incident does not occur in the future.”
FOX 2 asked the Normandy Schools Collaborative if the added measures included plans to issue and require student IDs for admission into the high school, but we had not received a response.