Clinton School goes into ‘code yellow’ lockdown on May 20

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Police responded to Clinton Elementary School in Maplewood on Thursday, May 20, at 8:51 a.m., after school staff called 9-1-1, saying that a woman was trespassing on school property and making threats.

According to the Maplewood Police Department, Stephanie Robinson, 27, of Newark, was arrested along with Amir White, 39, of Newark. The two individuals arrived at the school together and Robinson allegedly entered into a verbal altercation with school staff and Principal Jennifer Connors; Robinson allegedly began making threats and telling staff that she has a gun permit. According to police, no one was physically assaulted, and neither Robinson nor White entered the school building.

“There was no gun located nor does it appear she legally owns a gun,” Chief Jimmy DeVaul said. “It is my understanding that Robinson previously worked in the Clinton School cafeteria as a lunch aide. It is also my understanding that staff observed Robinson on school property and alerted the principal.”

In addition to calling police, school staff initiated a “code yellow” lockdown, which means students and staff shelter in place.

The day of the incident, Connors sent a letter home to families, informing them of the situation.

“Today at approximately 8:45 a.m., a woman who is prohibited from being on Clinton School property was seen by a staff member in a car in the school driveway. The woman was identified as the same woman as in the May 6, 2021, ‘code yellow’ incident,” Connors wrote. “The staff member immediately notified the main office to call 9-1-1. At this time, the school was placed in a ‘code yellow’ and 9-1-1 was called. A ‘code yellow’ is also known as a shelter-in-place. We practice this drill frequently.”

When the “code yellow” was called, according to Connors, there were two physical education classes on Underhill Field; the classes remained there and did not return to the school building until police had Robinson and White in custody. According to Connors, Maplewood police responded immediately and apprehended Robinson and White on Berkshire Road.

“Our central office was kept abreast of the situation. I would like to thank our staff and our students who followed our emergency procedures to shelter in place quickly and efficiently,” Connors wrote. “I am happy to say that everyone is safe and the ‘code yellow’ was lifted by 9:15 a.m. Our staff, including our social worker, (Arelis Tapia-Vargas), checked in with teachers and students, and our day of learning continued.”

According to police, the vehicle Robinson and White were driving had been stolen out of Newark. Robinson was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property, trespassing, resisting arrest and making terroristic threats. White was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property, trespassing and obstruction.

These charges are merely accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they are found guilty in a court of law.