Barry man charged in connection with Western High School incident

Posted: Feb. 20, 2013 9:59 am Updated: Mar. 20, 2013 11:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- A Barry man faces a felony charge after a Jan. 31 incident at Western High School involving a teacher.

David M. Anthony, 35, was charged with felony unlawful restraint and misdemeanor aggravated assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

State's Attorney Carrie Boyd said Anthony stormed into the school office on Jan. 31, angry about "something to do with his child who was a student in the district." Boyd said Anthony detained teacher Laura West, who was occupying an office normally used by an administrator, while yelling, slamming the door shut and placing himself between West and the office door.

While at the school, the charging documents say Anthony made provoking statements that made West feel threatened and then resisted arrest.

In Pike County Court for a first appearance Tuesday, Anthony initially told Judge Diane Lagoski he wanted a public defender, then asked for time to retain his own attorney. Anthony remains free on bond. His next court date is March 5.

Anthony was charged with the misdemeanors in January. After multiple discussions with law enforcement and school district representatives, Boyd filed the felony charge last week, with the district's request carrying "significant weight" in her decision.

"My general policy is to allow our local school districts to appropriately administer whatever course of action they feel is best to address school-related issues. However, if the assistance of my office is requested, I will thoroughly review all pertinent information and take action if a criminal charge is both warranted and desired by the school district," Boyd said.

The district already had been looking at boosting security measures at its buildings in Barry and Kinderhook.

After the incident involving Anthony, the School Board at a special meeting agreed that entrance doors at all facilities are to be locked, administration can utilize personnel flexibly to provide access to the building for visitors and supervision of students walking to and from the ag building and recess will be held inside the building. Superintendent Carol Frericks said then the additional security measures were due to pending litigation and would remain in place until further notice.

Plans for the board to review results of the litigation at tonight's meeting.

Anthony faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 if convicted of the felony. The misdemeanor charges carry sentences ranging from probation to a year in jail, and fines from $1,5000 to $2,500.