Woman tried to bring gun into LR5 school board meeting, but there was no crime, cops say

A woman with a gun was temporarily stopped from entering a Lexington-Richland District 5 school board meeting Monday night, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

The woman, who is a concealed weapons permit holder, was stopped after going through a metal detector while trying to enter the meeting held at Spring Hill High School, sheriff’s department spokesperson Deputy Sara Blann told The State Tuesday.

After being told no weapons were allowed in the meeting, Blann said the woman went outside to her car where she secured the gun before returning and being allowed to enter.

The incident was not a crime because the woman is a concealed weapons permit holder and she followed instructions about securing the gun outside the school, Blann said.

Lexington-Richland District 5
Lexington-Richland District 5

There was a large turnout at Monday’s LR5 school board meeting, including a group of people whose Facebook pages have been subpoenaed by board Vice Chair Ken Loveless as part of defamation lawsuits he has filed against two constituents.

Some brought signs that read “D5 Board: Free Speech Is A Right,” “Bullies Don’t Count” and “Stop the Lawsuits, Educate the Children.”

Like the gun, the signs were not permitted inside the meeting at the school’s Center for Advanced Technical Studies.

But the possibility that someone in the group tried to enter the meeting with a gun didn’t sit well with LR5 board member Catherine Huddle.

Lexington-Richland District 5
Lexington-Richland District 5

“Being on the board is not worth sitting it front a group of people whose spokesperson says they have mental health problems and one of them tried to bring a gun into the meeting last night and was caught by a metal detector — but allowed to return to the meeting,” Huddle said on Facebook.

Huddle was referencing comment made at the board meeting by Joann Claspill, the parent of an Irmo High School student who is one of the 31 people whose Facebook pages have been subpoenaed.

“There is an extreme amount of mental health trauma, anxiety and issues, especially prevalent in high school students, my daughter being one of them, and especially prevalent with myself and the people I’m accompanied with today because of things that have taken place that have no bearing on education,” Claspill said at Monday’s meeting.

On Tuesday, Claspill responded to Huddle’s Facebook post, and took issue with her comment about mental health problems, saying they were “taken 100% out of line.”

“What was said was in regards to families, students’ suffering BECAUSE of the decisions a public servant made,” Claspill said on Huddle’s Facebook post. “It is true — one of the people that Ken Loveless had his lawyer issue a subpoena to (Facebook) to obtain their personal information is a registered CWP holder who forgot to leave their gun in their vehicle. They were directed to do so by law enforcement and they complied. It wasn’t the best choice, but there was no intent to threaten nor did this person threaten anyone in any way.”

Another member of the group who had her Facebook page subpoenaed had a varying point of view on the incident.

“I don’t know who it was, but I agree it was incredibly stupid and reckless,” Laurene Cox Mensch said in response to Huddle’s post.

Officials with LR5 have not immediately responded to questions about the incident.