Bond set for parent accused of knocking assistant principal unconscious

A parent was arrested Tuesday following a physical altercation with an administrator, police said.

A school resource officer responded to Lakeview Elementary School around 2:30 p.m. after receiving a call about a disorderly parent in the main office. The parent was no longer there so the resource officer went to her home and took her into custody there.

According to Portsmouth Police, the parent, 43-year-old Tracy Lawrence, went to the school to talk to the assistant principal about a matter involving one of her children.

Lawrence has children ages 16, 12 and 10.

She was reportedly unhappy with the way the matter was handled and hit the administrator in the head, knocking her out briefly. According to witness accounts, she became disorderly then started shouting, before she left.

No students witnessed the physical altercation, police say. Lawrence has been barred from having any contact with anyone from the school.

Lawrence was charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. She was granted a $10,000 bond during a Wednesday hearing and was also ordered to have no contact with anyone at the school.

During the hearing Lawrence told Portsmouth General District Court Judge Morton Whitlow she has lived in Portsmouth her entire life and is unemployed, but collects disability.

Judge Whitlow gave Lawrence some conditions of the bond. Lawrence must have a probation officer beginning Wednesday, she can’t break the law again and she can’t have any contact with the victim or go to any Portsmouth schools.

“The exception to that would be specific written permission from the principal of each school to come to any meetings that might be necessary,” Judge Whitlow said.

According to court documents, Lakeview Assistant Principal Sylvia Hodges-Melvin was explaining to Tracy Lawrence that her son had been disruptive in school.

Hodges-Melvin was showing Lawrence video inside of her office during the school day.

Lawrence is accused of getting angry and yelling, “How would you feel if I mushed your head?”

The officer’s report goes on to say Lawrence then slapped Hodges-Melvin on the left side of her face and ear. The hit was so hard, Hodges-Melvin fell back and was briefly knocked out.

10 On Your Side went to Lawrence’s home. A man who answered the door told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings, “We’re not talking to anyone.”

10 On Your Side has learned the Assistant Principal Sylvia Hodges-Melvin is married to Portsmouth Circuit Court Judge and former Delegate Ken Melvin.

Messages left with his clerk were not returned.

10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings received the following message from Portsmouth Public Schools:

Five Portsmouth Police Resource Officers support our school division in addition to our 16 school security officers. Lakeview Elementary works closely with W.E. Waters Middle School’s Resource Officer. At the time of the incident, students were in their respective classrooms. This incident was isolated, as it took place in the assistant principal’s office. Lakeview Elementary School continues to be a safe learning environment for the students, teachers and administrators.

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