NEW RICHMOND, Ohio -- Parents of school-age children are bound to have a few worries when the school year starts each fall. Will their children be happy in their new classes? Will they make friends? Will they get good grades? Anxiety is a natural part of the process.
Parents of students at Monroe Elementary School, however, received a call -- and a new source of worry -- Tuesday about an incident none of them could have anticipated: A woman brought an unloaded gun onto school grounds just two days before the start of classes.
No children were on campus when authorities said Alayne Schmogrow, 55, pulled into the parking lot of Monroe Elementary, but teachers were busily preparing for the week ahead. According to a report from Clermont County police, Schmogrow exited her car and walked toward the school carrying a box containing a handgun and bullets.
When a pair of staffers approached and questioned her about her presence, Schmogrow stashed the box back in her car, but police discovered it and arrested her after receiving a call from a concerned staffer.
An arrest was made at Monroe Elem. Staff is safe. Thx to CC Sheriff for responding quickly. Elem Open Houses are still ON tonight!
— Adam Bird (@AdamCBird) August 16, 2016
She appeared in Clermont County Municipal Court Wednesday morning and was charged with two felony charges: one of possession of weapons on school grounds and one of having weapons under disability, a charge which may be levied at people who possess weapons despite having been convicted of a drug- or violence-related felony, being drug-dependent or having been found “mentally incompetent” by a court of law.
Schmogrow lives next to the school and has not had previous run-ins with school personnel.
Superintendent Adam Bird posted a message on the New Richmond Public Schools website and said he wants to make sure Schmogrow can't harm his students or staff. He said all doors will be locked when school starts Thursday, and the school secretary will have to buzz any visitors in and issue passes for them as usual.
"I asked the prosecutor to make sure to ask the judge that she not be permitted back on school property and I've since learned she's been given a $150,000 bond," Bird said. "She's been told that she has to turn over any weapons she possesses to the police. If she does post bond, she will have to wear an electronic monitoring device."
Parents of Monroe Elementary students received a robocall to inform them of the incident.
“It’s scary, of course, at first," said Amy Kelch, who has two children attending the school.
However, Kelch said, her faith in Monroe schools is strong enough that a single incident is not cause for too much concern.
“I grew up here,” she said. "I went to high school with the principal, so I feel very safe with my kids in their hands, absolutely."