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Hazel Park

January 25, 2013

Teacher slapped by stranger at elementary school

Visitor offended by request to check in at front office

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

FERNDALE — A school visitor’s flash of anger landed her temporarily in police custody after she snapped in the front office and slapped a teacher who questioned her business wandering the halls.

Now the accused individual — Leandra Creer, 34, of Kansas City, Mo. — is charged with assault and battery, a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 93 days in jail, following her arraignment by Magistrate Patrick Brennan in Ferndale 43rd District Court Jan. 15.

At press time, she had been released on a personal bond.

The incident occurred earlier the same day, around 12:20 p.m. at Webb Elementary, 2100 Woodward Heights Blvd., in the Ferndale portion of Hazel Park Public Schools.

Ferndale police say a teacher was lining up her first-grade students in the hallway, heading to the cafeteria for lunch, when she spotted Creer walking down the hall, wearing pajama pants.

The teacher asked Creer what she was doing, at which point Creer reportedly said she was bringing lunch to a student at the school. When asked which class, Creer named a person the teacher did not recognize. At this point, she asked Creer to follow standard procedure and report to the front office and check in.

The suspect did not take kindly to this, yelling at the teacher and declaring she wouldn’t go to the front office. Instead, Creer walked off toward the back of the school. The teacher immediately went to the front office to tell the principal what had happened.

She wasn’t there long before Creer showed up at the front office to continue the fight, allegedly yelling at the teacher  more, calling her rude and chest-bumping her.

The teacher told Creer to stop and give her some space, at which point Creer is said to have slapped the teacher across the face with the flat of her hand.

The teacher is said to be OK.

Creer left the building but returned momentarily. She identified herself as the aunt of a preschooler at the school; she allegedly said she had dropped the student off but then decided to deliver the student’s lunch herself. Police arrested her upon her return.

“The rest went without incident,” said Ferndale Police Lt. Bill Wilson. As for how Creer got into the school in the first place, “We’re not sure at this point. We don’t know if she just walked in the front door or what.

“I have seen stuff like this over the years, but it’s pretty infrequent, the kind of behavior that went on inside the school,” Wilson added. “It’s something we won’t tolerate. This incident may be a minor issue, but it brings to light security issues when someone is walking around in the school unauthorized, and they seem to act offended when told to check in the office. In this day and age, they should be grateful there’s this vigilance on the part of the staff to make sure all visitors are known and welcome.”

Calls to the school were not returned by press time.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at akozlowski@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1104.